Howell Guilty

It took a six-member Geneva County jury less than an hour to decide the fate of a man charged with the rape of a seven-year-old girl.

Authorities say Douglas John Howell sexually mistreated the child over several months, but defense counsel claims the 18-year-old defendant was a victim of sexual abuse himself by relatives, and later foster families.

The jury heard vivid, graphic testimony during the three-day trial.

Late Thursday afternoon, that panel returned with a "guilty" verdict of rape.

The judge did not set a sentencing date, but Howell could possibly get a maximum sentence of life in prison.