LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County jury has sentenced a 63-year-old Newton woman who set up sexual encounters between her boyfriend and a mentally disabled woman back in 2016 to 10 years of probation.
The sentencing phase of Janice Caswell's jury trial was being held in Judge Bob Inselmann's 217th Judicial District Court. On Wednesday, the jury found Caswell guilty of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a disabled person.
As part of the sentence, Caswell will be required to serve 180 days in the Angelina County Jail. She is also forbidden to have any future contact with the victim.
The state recommended a 24-year prison sentence.
According to an arrest affidavit, Caswell helped set up multiple sexual encounters with the victim at William Thomas Walley's Diboll apartment. Caswell was arrested in connection to the alleged assaults and charged with sexual assault of a disabled person. She was brought back to Angelina County after she was arrested in Newton.
Before the jury started deliberating Caswell's sentence, the state and the defense gave their closing arguments for that phase of the trial.
Al Charanza, Caswell's defense attorney, acknowledged that his client had made some bad choices. Then he asked the jury to think about the fact that she had been blinded by her love for Walley.
"But do we need to put her in prison?" Charanza asked the jury.
Charanza asked the jury to give Caswell probation, which would require her to register as a sex offender.
Caswell's defense attorney argued that other than the period of two weeks in which the sexual assaults occurred, she has been a law-abiding citizen all of her life. Charanza also pointed out what it will cost taxpayers to sentence Caswell to a minimum of five years in prison.
"This was clearly a wake-up call," Charanza said. "She's learned a lesson, despite the fact that she was a trusted person."
Charanza pleaded with the jury to give Caswell a chance to be supervised by a judge instead of locking her up in prison.
John Peralta, the prosecutor on the case, said that the severity of the offense means that Caswell sexually abused the victim. He added that it was aggravated sexual assault.
The attorney for the state also argued that Caswell is in denial and that she has no remorse.
"The victim needed someone to protect her, but Caswell did not act in her best interest," Peralta said. "Rather, Caswell encouraged the behavior. Evidence shows that talked the victim through on what to do."
Walley's sentencing was originally scheduled for Monday. However, the sentencing hearing was postponed after Walley, 56, of Vidor, allegedly used a razor to cut himself on his forearms.
An Angelina County jury found Walley guilty of sexual assault of a disabled person back in August. A pre-sentencing investigation was conducted before Walley's sentencing hearing was scheduled for Monday morning.
When Walley was arrested back in June of 2016, he was charged with first-degree sexual assault of a disabled person.