Derring Sentenced

Derring Gets 99 Years

A Mississippi teen is behind bars after being found guilty of raping a six-year-old Ashford girl.

Judge Lawson Little handed down a sentence of 99 years.

It was a tough scene at the Houston County Courthouse Thursday with families on both sides waiting for closure.

Thomas Derring stood emotionless as Judge Lawson Little read the jury's verdict. But Derring could not hide his feelings after his life sentence was announced just moments later.

He was just sixteen when he was charged last summer with raping a six-year-old girl he was staying with and her family in Ashford.

Derring's attorney, William White, admits his client is guilty, but of a lesser charge, attempted rape.

Derring was tried as an adult and intends to appeal the sentence. District Attorney Doug Valeska says this punishment fits the crime.

The jury of eight women and four men reached their verdict in about 45 minutes.