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The jury learned that he also had convictions for rape, forcible sodomy and use of a firearm.
James Edward McPeak
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
PULASKI — A Hiwassee man found guilty earlier this year of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison.
It took a Pulaski County jury only 20 minutes in April to find James Edward McPeak, 59, guilty of aggravated sexual battery. After learning that McPeak had prior convictions for rape, forcible sodomy, abduction and use of a firearm, the jury recommended a 20-year sentence.
Circuit Court Judge Marcus Long upheld the jury’s recommendation Monday, sentencing McPeak to the 20 years with one year of post-release supervision.
The victim, now 13, testified in April that she was left at McPeak’s home in the spring of 2011, and the two slept on a fold-out bed in the living room, according to county Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Fleenor. One night, she testified, McPeak inappropriately touched her under her clothing, Fleenor said.
Fleenor said the girl testified that McPeak told her “it made him feel young” and that if she told anyone, he would go to jail.
A social worker and law enforcement officer testified that McPeak later said that if he touched her, it would have been by accident, Fleenor said.
Before he was sentenced Monday, McPeak told the court that he wished to have another lawyer appointed to represent him on his several probation violations, his sentencing and a potential appeal. McPeak said his current lawyer, Greg Hagar, asked him “to take a plea bargain for something I’ve never done.”
Long refused to appoint another lawyer for the sentencing, reminding McPeak that he didn’t enter into a plea agreement and that the case went to a jury trial. A motion can be filed in the future if McPeak wants different representation moving forward, Long said.
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