BONHAM — A Hugo, Oklahoma man was sentenced to life in prison recently after jurors took just 13 minutes to convict him of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Willie DeePrice, 72, was sentenced to serve a life sentence in each case. The case was tried in the 336th District Court of Fannin County; the Hon. Laurine Blake presided, a written statement from the Fannin County District Attorney’s Office said.
“The trial marked the culmination of a family’s ongoing struggle to come to terms with years of sexual abuse,” the release said. “For over 40 years, Price molested several members of his family, both male and female, some no older than two years old.”
The prosecution said the named victim in the cases was his granddaughter, who came forward with allegations against him in late 2017. The Herald Democrat is not naming the girl as she is a victim in a sexual assault case. That girl, now an adult, disclosed that Price molested her several times when she was between the ages of 5 and 10. Only after her accusations came to light did others in the family come forward as well. Altogether, the jury heard from five former children who suffered abuse at Price’s hands.
“The sentence Mr. Price received will ensure that he is not a danger to our community or any other Texas community for a very long time,” Fannin County Criminal District Attorney Richard Glaser said in the written statement. “Obviously, what has happened can never be changed, but I sincerely hope the result of this trial can be of some solace to this family and serve as a start for the recovery it deserves.”
Under Texas law, Price must serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole, a milestone he is not likely to reach given his age. However, Glaser noted that even if Price was younger the Criminal District Attorney’s office “would strenuously oppose any early release for this violent man.”
“Cases like this, especially involving young children, are simply heartbreaking,” Glaser said. “But it’s my office’s responsibility to see that justice is done and that the victims are protected. In addition to prosecuting those who commit the crime, my office works closely with the Fannin County Children’s Center and the Fannin County Crisis Center to ensure the safety and stability of the victims. We also have a victim’s assistance coordinator on our staff to help victims with such things as protective orders, counseling, and victim’s compensation. Our job is now done with respect to Mr. Price’s day in court. Now we’ll focus on those he’s left behind and try to see to it that they’re able to move on with their lives.”