LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – A jury sentenced a Diboll man to two 10-year prison sentences, one day after finding him guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
The jury deliberated the punishment for about two hours.
Judge Paul White will determine whether the sentences will be concurrent or consecutive. He will make the decision at a later date.
The jury found him guilty of the crime Thursday night around 10 p.m. He was accused of forcing two children he was babysitting to perform sexual acts on one another.
Before the punishment was determined, a tearful Wesley Don Parish, 52, took the stand asking the jury for minimal punishment.
"Are those tears for John and Jane Doe or are they for you?" asked prosecutor Art Bauereiss.
Parish said, "They are for both."
Bauereiss approached the jury, asking them to consider the crimes committed and what's safest for the community.
"Do we have a chameleon here?" Bauereiss asked. "A big old lovable teddy bear? But when the children get on the stand they paint a different picture ... How do we do this? Through a short sentence? Or one that speaks more loudly?"
Parish's attorney, Al Charanza, asked the jury to consider the least amount of punishment: five years.
"Any sentence you give him could be a death sentence," he said. "...With his immune system and going to the penitentiary he could catch some cold or virus that could result in his death."
The jury began deliberating the punishment just before 11 a.m.
"You're not just sending my brother to prison, you've given him a death sentence. His immune system is so bad, the slightest cold can kill him," said Parish's sister, Debora Jones.
"He has had two heart transplants. He has a very fragile immune system. He takes anti-rejection medicines. All these things…A 10 year sentence could result in him losing his life," said Charanza.
Charanza says it is a fair sentence, considering Parish could have received life in prison.
"He's had little to no criminal history. He had a couple of DWI's when he got out of the army but other than that he's lived a law abiding life," said Charanza.
Jones maintains her only brother is innocent claiming too many details were not revealed during the trial.
"Trust me. It is not the happy little family that it presents itself to be and these children have been through a lot," said Jones. "Children lie. Children are not the innocence that they were back in my day," she said.
Jones' biggest disappointment is that Parish's friends did not come forward during trial.
"Why weren't you here to support your friend that you've known for so many years that's kept your children, that's done so much for you? Where were you?" asked Jones.
Not in this courtroom, but the jury was. After nine hours of deliberation, Parish must accept his fate from a prison cell.