By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – A Mineral Wells man is serving the first days of a life sentence after being convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter almost three years ago.
A Palo Pinto County jury found Steven Matthew Carroll, 32, guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child after a two-day trial, Wednesday, and sentenced him to 99 years in prison, without parole, and assessed a $10,000 fine.
It only took the seven-man, five-woman jury 12 minutes to deliberate before convicting Carroll of the first-degree felony offense.
District Attorney Mike Burns told the Index the incident encompassed by the trial occurred at Carroll’s Mineral Wells residence in early September of 2011.
Later that month, the child told other family members that Carroll had engaged in sexual relations with her. Witnesses testified that Carroll was the biological father of the child.
Among those that testified to the jury were the child’s grandmother, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner from Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and Dr. Denise Boots, who serves as an associate professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Because the child was under the age of 6 at the time of the offense, the minimum sentence allowable for the crime was 25 years, without parole. After hearing the evidence Tuesday and Wednesday, the jury made sure Carroll received the maximum punishment.
“I am pleased that the jury appreciated the seriousness of the conduct associated with this offense,” Burns said after the trial. “Sexual abuse of children is always a concern and a high priority in my office.
“We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who prey upon the most vulnerable and innocent members of our community: our children.”