LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - After deliberating for about three hours, a Polk County jury sentenced a former peace officer who used police tactics when he sexually assaulted two women to 65 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison.
"It feels exhilarating. It feels like justice has been finally been served. Mark Shawn Hamilton has gotten away with this for 30 years," a victim said.
Chief Deputy Byron Lyons with the Polk County Sheriff's Office said that Mark Shawn Hamilton, 52, of Goodrich, was found guilty Tuesday when he appeared for a jury trial in Judge Kaycee Jones' 411 Judicial District Court.
"We would like to thank Captain Ricky Childers, Texas Ranger, Ryan Clendennan, Prosecutor, Kari Allen, District Attorney, Lee Hon, the jurors, and Jessica Slack, the D.A. investigator," a victim said.
This personal thanks to Polk County law enforcement came because victims said, as the former peace officer had so often threatened, no one else believed their outcries.
When Hamilton was arrested in September of 2015, he was originally charged with four counts of second-degree felony sexual assault and one count of endangering a child. Collectively, his bail amount was set at $1.15 million.
Hon reminded the jury that this is not the about the court's leniency, forgiveness, or rehabilitation, but instead punishment.
Hon recalled a victim's testimony of Hamilton "punishing" her.
"Well, it's time for his punishment," Hon said.
"Bully, stalker, predator, and ultimately a child molester," Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon said during his closing arguments, describing Hamilton.
"He has been doing this for 30 years," Hon said.
He described Hamilton as deviant and evil.
Hon recalled testimony of all of Hamilton's alleged sexual acts with underage children.
"This man was supposed to protect and serve. How inconsistent?" Hon said. "He took advantage and used his position."
"No law enforcement police officer has the right to rape women and brutalize them for over 23 years," a victim said.
Hon said that Hamilton was damaging the name of and reputation of law enforcement.
"Ninety-nine years is justice here," Hon said.
The defense attorney said that though Hamilton is 51, he is not past the point of rehabilitation.
He said that studying people like Hamilton could enhance rehabilitation.
"Mark has family and has hurt every single person in his family," said Assistant District Attorney Kari Allen.
"I agree with the words Hon used to describe Hamilton. He left out one big one. Mark Hamilton is a rapist. Not just once, not just twice. He is a serial rapist," Allen said.
"He violated the trust we give our police officers. He spent his life punishing women. Punish him for the rest of his life," Allen said.
After the sentencing was determined, three women read victim impact statements to Hamilton.
"Victims will become survivors," the first woman said. "You took away my strength and my dignity. We are strong and will be repaired. You are a very sick man. you have a lot of time on your hands and I pray you use it to seek forgiveness."
"I hope you remember the sadness you see in your daughter's eyes right now," the second woman said. "Because of you, I believed that anyone who loves me would hurt me."
"Jurors, thank you so much," the third woman said. "This has been 23 years of devastation."
The victims said that even more women have mustered up the strength to come forward. They hope their testimony leads to unsilenced victims of domestic abuse.
"Thank God today, that a child rapist, an adult rapist, a stalker, anything you could imagine sadistic wise, has been placed behind bars for 65 years. Thank you, God," a victim said.
Victims of Hamilton's abuse came forward from all over Texas. Victims who testified said that one of those women committed suicide in March. The district attorney said that Hamilton will file an appeal. He still has five indictments pending.