Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said that on Friday, the defendant Devin Matthew Johnson pleaded guilty in 115th District Court in Gilmer and was sentenced by District Judge Lauren Parish.
Byrd said that the state had recommended, with the mother’s consent, 40 years in prison and Judge Parish assessed that sentence, along with lifetime registration as a sex offender if ever paroled.
Byrd said that on the morning of Oct. 29, 2010, the child’s mother left for work and left her children with Johnson, who was her husband.
The assault occurred that morning while the mother was at work, Byrd said.
At noon, the stepfather took the child to her aunt’s home. She outcried to her aunt regarding the assault, and the aunt notified the mother.
The mother went to the home and the child told her mother what had happened.
Gilmer Police Investigator Roxanne Warren responded to the scene and began the investigation.
The defendant was taken into custody in Gilmer by Department of Public Safety Trooper Walt Smith.
He was arrested a military AWOL (absent without leave) warrant for failure to report to his duty station. Johnson was in the U.S. Army and was set to deploy overseas, but failed to report.
When he was interviewed by Investigator Warren, he denied all charges and maintained his innocence.
The child was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
“Ultimately, the evidence showed oral penetration and nothing vaginal,” Byrd said. “The evidence showed this was a one-time occurrence.”
Byrd said that the young child has been undergoing counseling sessions and appears to be progressing well.
The child’s mother and other family members were present in court Friday to witness the plea and sentence.
Byrd said that Johnson must serve at least 25 years of the 40 years before becoming eligible for parole.
“Even though eligible at that time, it does not mean he will be paroled,” Byrd said.
“I am contacting the Judge Advocate General so that the military can take appropriate actions for his discharge and sentence with the military tribunal,” the District Attorney said.
He praised Investigator Warren.
“This was another thorough and very detailed investigation by Roxanne Warren, which led to successful prosecution,” Byrd said. “Crimes against children must be taken very seriously to protect not only the current victim, but also to guard against future victims as well.
“I am pleased the mother and family feel justice was achieved today, and for that, another sex offender is off our streets.”