A Vicksburg man was convicted of attempted statutory rape of a child under 14 in Warren County on Thursday.
It took jurors about two hours to return with a guilty verdict against James Earl Cole who was accused of attempting to sexual assault his 13-year-old stepdaughter in 2020.
Opening statements began on Tuesday where Assistant District Attorney Liem Walker explained to the jury that they would receive testimony that Cole rubbed on the victim’s breast while they were wrestling. Walker also stated that the victim would testify that Cole came into her room, climbed on top of her, kissed her breast and attempted to have sex with her.
Cole was represented by Ed Blackmon who told jury that his client was innocent and that the State had no DNA evidence.
The state called Sergeant Glentrice Johnson to the stand to testify. Johnson explained that she responded to the incident that occurred in April 2020 and spoke with the child and her mother.
Investigator John Nguyen testified that Cole told him that if there is any DNA evidence then it’s because he had sex with his wife and she put his DNA on her daughter.
The victim also took the stand and she testified that Cole came into her room a little after 12 a.m., took off her underwear, climbed on top of her and attempted to force himself inside of her. She also stated that her mother walked in on the situation and confronted Cole about what was happening before calling the police.
The teenage victim went on to state that this situation was not the first time that Cole sexual harassed her.
The mother of the victim was next to testify and she verified her daughter’s story about what happened that night.
Later on in the trial a video was played for the jury where the victim explained what all happened that night as she spoke to someone from the Children’s Advocacy Center.
During closing arguments, Walker stated that Cole asked his stepdaughter not to tell. She also stated that Cole took both the mother an daughter’s phone afterwards so that they couldn’t call the police.
Blackmon, who represented Cole, stated that this incident was about a cell phone which was taken away from the victim sometime prior to this accusation and that she was texting on her phone at the time.
Assistant District Attorney Branan Southerland finished up the state’s arguments by telling the jury that Cole went into that room that night to rape his 13-year-old stepdaughter.
Cole is now custody and will remain in the Warren County Jail until his sentencing by Circuit Court Judge Toni Terrett on December 14.See a typo? Report it here.