SEGUIN — Jurors needed less than 30 minutes Wednesday morning to reach a verdict convicting a Seguin man on four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Larry Kent Young, 34, was found guilty on three counts of sexually assaulting a five-year-old nephew and one count of sexually assaulting a nine-month-old nephew.
After reading the jury’s verdict, Second 25th District Judge W.C. “Bud” Kirkendall ordered a presentencing investigation of the defendant and scheduled sentencing for Jan. 24.
Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of five to 99 years or life and a fine of up to $10,000. Having received two previous prison sentences, Young is not eligible for probation.
The jury of five women and seven men heard testimony Monday and Tuesday. Witnesses included the five-year-old boy, his father, the director of the Guadalupe County Children’s Advocacy Center who interviewed the boy and the nurse who examined him, as well as his younger brother and sister, at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center.
After the reading of the judge’s instructions and final arguments by the attorneys, jurors left the courtoom at 9:50 a.m. to begin their deliberations. Attorneys were told at 10:20 a.m. that the jury had reached its verdict.
In his closing argument, Assistant District Attorney Chris Lyerla told jurors they probably would ask themselves the same question asked by prosecutors before proceeding with the case: “What if the child is lying? What if this is a flight of imagination that got out of hand?”
He urged the jury to recall how the boy’s story had been consistent as he revealed more and more details of what had happened.
“The truth will come out. Flights of fantasy don’t last with children,” Lyerla said.
He also reviewed a timeline of the case showing that the offenses happened on June 2, 2011. The boy was interviewed on June 7 at the Children’s Advocacy Center, examined on June 9 at GRMC, and arrest warrants for Young were issued on June 10.
A week later, Young took a bus to Mesa, Arizona, where he was arrested on July 17 by the U.S. Marshals Service shortly after his arrival. He was brought back to Texas and booked into the Guadalupe County Jail on July 10, 2011.
While in jail, Young wrote letters to his daughter, a cousin and a friend, asking them to provide letters to his attorney stating that he had been in Arizona on June 2, but no one complied with his request.
Lyerla showed the jury excerpts from copies of the letters.
“Does that sound like an innocent person? Why would an innocent man have to resort to such things,” Lyerla asked.
“I’m not going to stand up here and say those letters are not troubling,” said Susan Schoon, the defendant’s court-appointed defense attorney. “You see desperation in those letters. You see someone fighting for their life.”
Schoon said Young had been babysitting with the children for two months and nothing seemed to have happened.
“Everything was fine,” she said. “Are we to believe that everything just shifted all in one day?”
She also noted that three other adults, besides Young and his wife, were living in the single-wide mobile home.
“It doesn’t make any sense that he would do all of that with three other people in the house,” Schoon said. “The information that we have does not add up. It does not make sense.”
Assistant District Attorney Terri Laird said the boy, who’s now six years old, had never wavered from what he had told his parents and authorities.
“There is no reason for him to make this story up. There’s no reason not to believe him,” Laird told the jury.