FORT WORTH -- A Tarrant County jury wasted no time putting a 45-year-old man away for the rest of his life on Thursday for sexually abusing a five-year-old relative.
Jurors deliberated about 20 minutes on Wednesday before convicting Julio Ortiz Chavarria of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under six—a charge that carries no parole eligibility, a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney's office stated. On Thursday, the jury deliberated just 20 minutes before sentencing him to the maximum life in prison.
During the trial in state District Judge Everett Young’s court, prosecutors Melinda Westmoreland and Allenna Bangs presented evidence that on August 19, 2011, a five-year-old girl told her mother that Chavarria had sexually assaulted her. The mother took the child to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and police were called.
Police were unable to locate Chavarria, but his truck was later found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot in Arlington. A warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the sexual assault. He was later captured in California and extradited to Texas to face charges.
During the punishment phase of his trial, prosecutors presented evidence of Chavarria’s prior criminal history, which included five convictions out of California for robbery, drugs and theft. -- Mitch Mitchell