A 44-year-old Arcadia man was found guilty Wednesday of aggravated rape of a child under age 13.
After two days of testimony and two hours of deliberation two hours, a 12-person jury in 26th Judicial District Court convicted Demery Monday.
According to testimony at the trial, the case came to light when elementary school authorities learned a student may be pregnant. When confronted, the child admitted it was Demery, who had recently been released from prison, who was having sex with her.
"School authorities contacted the Webster Parish Sheriff's Department who then investigated the case and took the child to the Gingerbread House to be interviewed by a forensic child interviewer," Sherb Sentell, assistant district attorney, said. "The child indicated that many of the rapes took place in the back of Demery's car so detectives got cuttings from the back seat and sent them to the North Louisiana Crime Lab for analysis."
Sentell said DNA matching the victim and Demery were found on a towel in the back of the car that the victim indicated was used to clean up after sex. There were also other DNA and seminal fluids found on the seat cuttings linked to Demery.
Sentell prosecuted the case. Randal Fish was Demery's defense attorney. Sentell called 10 witnesses before resting. Demery then took the stand and testified in his defense.
"I really want to thank our teachers in this case," Sentell said. "A retired principal and school counselor testified in this case and had to undergo vigorous cross examination by the defense. We all should appreciate what our teachers do for our children and our community, and having to come to court and testify to protect young children from sexual abuse is just another thing they do to protect our kids."
The Webster Parish Sheriff's investigators were also commended for their work in this case.
"It takes a lot of work to put together the facts in an aggravated rape case and the sheriff's department and their detectives did a great job in this case and that makes our job so much easier," Sentell said.
District Attorney Schuyler Marvin said he was relieved to have closure on the case.
"I want to thank the Gingerbread House for what they do in these cases," Marvin said. "They support all of our surrounding parishes and provide an invaluable service to us in these sex offense cases involving children."
Judge Parker Self presided over the trial and will sentence Demery on June 9.
An aggravated rape conviction carries an automatic life sentence without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. However, Sentell said he intends to file a habitual offender charge against Demery because of his numerous priors including armed robbery.
"I am going to multi-bill him to make sure this man will not get out and hurt another child or commit more offenses," he said.
Sentell is also preparing a perjury charge against Demery based on his testimony in this trial and intends to convict him and use the habitual offender bill again after the perjury conviction to get another life sentence. Demery also has other pending charges of aggravated incest and aggravated burglary in Webster Parish, as well as other charges pending in Bienville Parish.