sentenced to 40 years
Wanda English Burnett
Robert Baston, 41, of Milan, will be spending the next 40
years in prison for Child Molesting, a Class A Felony.
Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul said he saw no mitigating factors
when looking at information concerning Baston. Looking at Bastons
criminal record, the fact he violated the conditions of release
earlier and was incarcerated again, made the Judge say he (Baston)
has an apparent disregard for the authority of the court.
Bastons mother, Sondra Strezeski, testified that sending her
son to prison for a lengthy stay would be a hardship on her. She
said she was in the end stages of COPD and is also in a wheelchair
due to having one leg amputated. She noted that the defendant was
her caregiver, along with his wife.
However, the Judge said he wasnt sure Baston would be a proper
person to care for his mother.
The 40-year sentence is a guarantee that Baston will have to serve
at least 34 years. He will get one day credit for every six years
he serves, making him 75-years-old before he could get out.
According to Ripley Publishing Co. files, Baston was found guilty
of molesting a child by a jury following a three-day trial.
The jury believed the six-year-olds testimony of how Baston
took her on a 4-wheeler ride in a secluded area and sexually molested
her. She immediately told adults about the situation upon returning
to the home of the defendants mother, where a summer pool
party was taking place. The jury also believed the DNA evidence
presented by the State concerning the case.
The defendant showed no emotion throughout his trial by jury, when
the verdict was given, and when the sentence was imposed. However,
he did break down and cry when he hugged his mother as he was escorted
from the courtroom following the sentencing by Sheriff Tom Grills
and Major David Pippin of the Ripley County Sheriffs Office.
Prosecutor Ric Hertel was pleased with the sentence. He, along with
the probation department had recommended the 40-year sentence, and
was glad to see it imposed.