Jury finds man guilty of sexually abusing toddler


Donnie Ray Pearson lived with the victim. He moved into the little girl's home after becoming her mother's boyfriend. The victim is now three years old.

Jurors convicted Pearson late Friday afternoon and an hour later, Pearson stood as he heard the jury's decision to sentence him to the maximum punishment for the crime -- life in prison. The sentence outraged his brother, JD Pearson.

"My brother is 100 percent innocent; I am his brother; he is 100 percent innocent," JD Pearson said.

During the trial, the jury heard testimony that the victim -- an 18-month-old little girl -- started tearing out her hair and biting herself in response to the sexual assaults. The crime happened over a six-month period and nurses and doctors realized the girl had been sexually assaulted after an emergency room visit.

During the trial, the mother of the victim testified her daughter didn't have any behavioral problems until Pearson moved in.

Pearson's attorney, Neal Davis III, told the jury Pearson did not abuse the child and did not know how the injuries happened.

"This was a close case; there was a lot of circumstantial evidence -- that's why it took two weeks to try this case," Davis said. "I believe the jury went back there and felt the circumstantial evidence leaned more toward the state. We disagree with that."

Davis attorney is appealing the case. Meanwhile, Pearson is serving life in prison without the chance of parole.

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