Wanda English Burnett
a Ripley County Circuit Court jury less than two hours to decide
the verdict in the Robert A. Thomas case last week.
Thomas, 34, of Osgood,(formerly of Jefferson County) had been
charged with Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, a Class B Felony,
and jurors found him guilty on those charges after they heard
the evidence presented.
According to Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ryan King, the thorough
work of the investigating office, John Hegge, was key to getting
a conviction. He did an outstanding job, King told
The Versailles Republican.
The child (under 16 years of age) testified that in April of
2009 she had sexual intercourse with Thomas on at least six
occasions. This was after Thomas had only been living in the
victims household for three weeks.
The victims father had allowed Thomas, who was a family
friend at the time, to stay at their home after getting out
of prison on other charges. During the trial the father said
allowing the defendant to stay in his home was the biggest
mistake of my life.
Officer Hegge, who was with the Osgood Police Department at
the time of the incident, testified that during his investigation
he collected evidence from the crime scene and conducted an
interview of Thomas. The interview was played for the jurors
where they would hear Thomas explain that he had sexual contact
with the victim, but there was only 15 to 30 seconds of
A DNA analyst testified that the childs DNA was found
in Thomas underwear.
King noted, Officer Hegges investigation and subsequent
interview of Mr. Thomas provided the jury with the evidence
they needed to reach a guilty verdict.
Circuit Court Judge Carl Taul remanded Thomas to the custody
of the Ripley County Jail because Thomas is on probation from
a prior felony conviction - forgery in Dearborn County.
Sentencing for Thomas has been set for December 17 where he
could face up to 20 years in prison.