Judge sentences 18-year-old to 30 years in prison

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - More than two years ago, a then 19-year-old woman was attacked in her home in Oak Grove, just off of Weathersby Road in Lamar County. According to the victim's father, Fred Spence, the violent act could have ended with the death of his daughter if a neighbor wouldn't have intervened.

"Well, it has been really hard on my daughter. She had a bright future ahead of her and this attack has set her back considerably. She lost her innocence," said Spence

Spence spoke on behalf of his daughter, after her attacker 18-year-old Deshun White's sentencing Tuesday afternoon in Lamar County.

"Count one burglary and count two sexual battery," said Judge Prentiss Harrell.

Before White heard his fate, Judge Harrell gave him an chance to speak. White apologized to the victim, asked for forgiveness and spoke of a second chance.

"Thank you, Mr.White.  I am confident that you are very sincere and genuine in what you've said at this moment, but unfortunately there are serious consequences for this type of behavior and a civil society can not tolerate it," said Harrell.

Judge Harrell enforced his ruling.

"Count one, burglary. I will impose a sentence on you of 25 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections. I will require that you serve 10 of that, 15 will be on post release. Count two. I will impose a sentence on you of 30 years to serve with the Mississippi Department of Correction. I will require that you serve 20 of that. I will require that run consecutive with count one with a total of 30," said Judge Harrell.

District Attorney Hal Kittrell says he is pleased with the judges decision.

"It is becoming more and more common place, and unfortunately we are having our young women and co-eds facing this type of situation. We can't tolerate it. We've got to send the message you can not do this, and we think that was done today with this sentence," said Kittrell.

The victim's father says it's too late for his daughter, but hopefully this ruling will make a difference in the safety of other women.

Judge Harrell ordered White to a lifetime registration as a sex offender, and no contact with the victim.

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