Nacogdoches man takes 20 years in sexual assault

Leroy Diamond mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Leroy Diamond mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man accepted a 20-year prison sentence as part of a plea deal in the sexual assault of a teenaged girl.

A jury found Leroy Diamond, 43, guilty of sexual assault in the case of the alleged abduction and rape of the girl.

Diamond was originally charged with aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. The jury found him not guilty on those charges but guilty of sexual assault, a lesser included offense.

The jury's verdict means they could only determine that Diamond had sex with the girl, but there was not enough evidence to convict him of abducting the girl and forcing her to have sex with him.

Following the verdict, Diamond was scheduled to go into the sentencing phase of the trial, which would have been determined by the same verdict. However, Diamond reached an agreement with prosecutors on the 20-year sentence.

Had the trial had gone into the sentencing phase, the jury would likely have heard about Diamond's two other sex-related offenses for which he is charged.

In July 2010, police arrested Diamond after investigators were able to use a composite sketch and a DNA sampled from the alleged victim to identify Diamond as a suspect in the April 2010 incident.

According to previous reports, authorities say Diamond offered a ride to a teenager walking along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Nacogdoches. When the girl realized he wasn't driving to her home, sheriff's officials said she tried jumping out of the car.

Diamond is accused of holding the girl at knife-point and raping her repeatedly near a Woden Cemetery.

Diamond also has two cases brought against him by the Nacogdoches Police Department that are still pending. There are a total of nine counts of sexual assault of a child between the two cases. Those cases have not yet been resolved. If Diamond is found guilty in this trial, the two unrelated cases could be brought up in the sentencing phase.

At 1:40 p.m. Nacogdoches County's 420th District Judge Edwin Klein began charging the jury.

In the first count of the indictment, Diamond is charged with aggravated kidnapping for the April 2010 incident. Klein explained aggravated kidnapping is when a person intentionally or knowingly abducts a person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.

In the second count of the indictment, Diamond is charged with aggravated sexual assault. Klein told jurors aggravated sexual assault is if a person intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the sexual organ of a child by any means and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the course of the episode. In this case, the prosecution claims Diamond used a knife to hold a girl and repeatedly rape her.

Jurors have also been asked to consider the lesser, included offense of sexual assault if they do not believe Diamond is guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Diamond did not testify on his own behalf during the course of this trial. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Diamond's attorney, Ralphaell Wilkins, began addressing the jury in closing arguments. He said the victim took the stand and told three untruths.

Wilkins said she didn't kick him in the groin and run into the woods and she was not picked up by a couple in a white pickup truck.

He pointed out those lies were told not only to investigators, but to the girl's mother and stepfather.

"Those three lies were allowed to ferment and to set for almost one year," Wilkins said.

He explained the truth came out in preparation for trial.

"Imagine being a 14-year-old girl and coming home at 2 or 3 in the morning after having sex with an older man," Wilkins said. "You've got to come up with a story and you've got to embellish."

Wilkins went on to say one of the challenges of lying is you have to keep it together and you have to tell other lies to cover the first untruths you've told.

He held up a photo of the victim and pointed out the tear on the girl's sleeve is on the right shoulder, not the left and the girl has no black eye.

The defense said no one, not even the Texas Ranger, was able to discover the knife Diamond supposedly wielded to abduct and rape the girl.

"Can the truth just not stand on its own, or do I have to embellish it, change it, make stuff up," Wilkins said.

He said his client drove the girl home the night of the alleged incident.

Wilkins said if it would've happened the way the victim said it happened, then there would be other witnesses in this case.

The defense said Diamond's vehicle was a standard and it would have been pretty difficult to show a knife while trying to shift in the vehicle.

The defense then began talking about the girl's mother. He said her daughter was missing from the house for about five hours on a school night and she didn't repeatedly call authorities during that time.

Wilkins went on to say the sexual activity was voluntary.

Nacogdoches County Assistant District Attorney Lauren Gaston began addressing the jurors Tuesday afternoon.

She said jurors can't ignore the DNA evidence in this case.

"You can't explain away the fact that his semen was in her panties and his semen was inside of her," Gaston said.

She said there has not been anything presented to jurors to show that any of the acts that happened the night of April of 2010 were consensual.

Gaston said regardless of how bad it made the girl look, she took the stand.

The prosecution said the girl didn't want to look stupid because she had been told you don't get into the car with someone you don't know.

"Bad things did happen to [the victim,]" Gaston said.

Prosecutors said the girl's mother did call police just the one time when her child was missing because she was spending her time calling every other person she could think of that may know of the girl's whereabouts.

Gaston said she was a normal 14-year-old girl that was going to go visit her friends for a couple of hours.

The state went on to point out the girl told officers she was able to urinate and vomit and the officers found evidence of both at the scene.

Gaston said medical professionals determined the girl's right wrist and ankle were sprained. She said the girl tried everything to get away from Diamond.

"He told her if she tried to do anything he was going to cut her," Gaston said.  "She did not want what happened to her."

Gaston told jurors the girl knew she should have never got into the car with Diamond, but she did.

The prosecution went on to say Diamond went on to, "…rape her vaginally, rape her orally, threaten her, everything that he wanted to do, anyway that he wanted to use her in the backseat of his 1988 Honda he did to her."

Gaston said the defendant had the desire to take what he wanted to from the child and he did it.

At 2:32 p.m. the jury began deliberating. 

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