Child molester is sentenced to 30 years in prison

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 24, 2000

A Vicksburg man convicted of sexual battery on a child last week was sentenced Wednesday morning to 30 years in prison.

Warren County Circuit Court Judge Frank Vollor sentenced John Timothy Harris, 35,1900 Baldwin Ferry Road, to 30 years in prison with no possibility of parole or early release.

A week ago, a jury found Harris guilty of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl Oct. 9, 1999, in the back yard of his brother’s house.

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“It will be a long time before he will get out to do anything like this again,” an aunt of the victim said. “I am pleased with the sentence.”

During the three-day trial, the victim, now 8, told jurors that she was playing in the yard when Harris approached and then assaulted her.

The child told her mother, who is now deceased, about the attack later that night and the police were summoned to the hospital.

Throughout the trial, which started Nov. 14, defense witnesses, including the victim’s father maintained Harris was not at his brother’s house at the time of the attack.

Harris, who was arrested 10 days after the assault, could have faced a life sentence if he had been deemed a violent habitual offender. He has two earlier felony convictions.

To avoid the possible life sentence, Harris agreed to give up his right to appeal the jury verdict.

“I think he will be beyond being a threat to society by the time he gets out,” said Assistant District Attorney Mike Bonner, who tried last week’s case.