Albert Charles Haley (Source: Angelina County Jail)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -
A 56-year-old Lufkin man received two concurrent life sentences for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl on Feb. 16 after he had her drink and smoke drugs with him.
It took less than an hour for the jurors in an Angelina district court to decide Albert Charles Haley's fate Friday morning. Haley was convicted in the 217th Judicial District Court on two second-degree felony charges of sexual assault of a child Thursday.
"Consider the nature of the crime and how much more horrific it could have been," prosecutor Lane Thompson said during his closing arguments. "It's horrible; it turns my stomach. It is evil. It is selfish. It is sick."
Before the jurors left the courtroom at 9:46 a.m. to decide on Haley's punishment, Thompson urged them to "send a message to the community."
"I would suggest you ask for life to protect this community," Thompson said.
Defense attorney Rudy Velasquez told jurors, "(Haley's) life is in your hands. He's 56 years old, and his time is limited."
Earlier, Velasquez told jurors that Haley has "lived a good life since 2006." The defense attorney also said that Haley has "done his best to stay out of trouble."
after the sentence was handed out, Thompson was satisfied and feels that the sentence was good for the community.
"In regard to a judgment by jury, there are always a couple of factors at play, one is the punishment for this particular defendant but another potential benefit to a verdict like this is the message it sends to other people thinking about committing this kind of crime. It's a message to them that there will be a very heavy price," said Thompson.
According to Angelina County jail records, Haley was previously convicted of several felony charges including aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
During Wednesday's testimony, the victim, who is now 15, gave graphic testimony of what happened on Feb. 16. At the time of the sexual assault, her mother and stepfather both worked the night shift. They were paying Haley to watch the victim and her three younger sisters.
On Feb. 16, the victim was left at home with Haley and two toddlers because her younger sister went to a Valentine's Day Dance at Lufkin Middle School.
The girl told jurors that after Haley had her drink two cups of beer, he told her to smoke a pipe with drugs in it. He told her that it would relieve cramps and stress. Then he told her told come into the bedroom with him.
During her testimony, the victim said she was dazed and disoriented when Haley laid her on the bed, took off her pants, and performed oral sex on her. In addition, he had sex with her twice. Then Haley allegedly told her she could take a shower and said she should act normal when her sister returned from the dance.
The victim testified that she told a friend and her sister about the sexual assault, but didn't tell any adults because she was afraid that no one would believe her.
Later in Wednesday's testimony, the victim's sister said that when she returned home from the dance, her sister wasn't acting like herself.
"She just stared into space and went to bed early," the victim's sister said.
Lufkin Police officers arrested Haley at a house in the 800 block of South First St. in April. According to the arrest affidavit, the victim told counselors at Harold's House, a victim's advocacy center that Haley had performed two sexual acts on her when she was 14.
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