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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Man gets 99 years for role in gang rape


    The second co-defendant in the alleged gang rape of a 27-year-old Palestine woman almost two years ago has been sentenced to 99 years in prison by an Anderson County jury.

    James Wesley Sherrill, 31, of Palestine received a pair of 99-year prison sentences Thursday after being found guilty of the felony offenses of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping by an eight-man, four-woman jury at the Anderson County Courthouse.

    The jury also assessed the maximum $10,000 fine in each of the cases.

    The state was represented by Anderson County assistant district attorneys Scott Holden and Elizabeth Watkins during the trial, while the defendant was represented by local attorneyColin McFall.

    369th State District Judge Bascom W. Bentley III presided over the trial.

    During the wee morning hours of Sept. 7, 2009, authorities have said they were contacted by a 27-year-old female who reported she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by multiple males near Pat Morris Lake off of CR 2202.

    Sherrill was the victim’s boyfriend at the time of the assault, testimony in his trial showed.

    “”This was his girlfriend,”” Holden said following the 99-year verdict. “”He held her down”” while three other men sexually assaulted her.

    A fifth co-defendant in the case served as a lookout, according to authorities.

    Testimony during Sherrill’s trial also indicated he injected the victim with a “”hot shot”” of illegal narcotics against her will during the course of the assault.

    Sherrill becomes the second co-defendant in the case to receive a stiff sentence.

    In late March, an eight-woman, four-man jury sentenced 31-year-old Dustin Matthew Huffman of Palestine to life in prison for his role in the rape and kidnapping.

    “”A cross section of the citizens of Anderson County have said the same thing,”” said Watkins, who along with Holden also represented the state in its prosecution of Huffman. “”…These are very different juries (in the Huffman and Sherrill cases). They couldn’t have been more different, but they came to the same conclusion. The evidence was such that these two people should not be in society.””

    Three co-defendants in the case – Mark Howard Huffman, 54, Victor Wade Davis, 40, and James Eddie Henderson, 30, — have yet to face trial.

    The state indicated the next of the co-defendants’ trials will likely be in July or August.

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