On November 8, 2023, Wilbert James Jones, Jr., 57, of Ennis, was sentenced to life in prison for three counts of sexual assault of a child, announced Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery.
In 2011, Jones was released from prison after serving time for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. At a homecoming party, Jones met his 15-year-old victim. He began grooming her by making inappropriate sexual comments and touching her inappropriately.
Jones then sexually assaulted the victim multiple times, resulting in a pregnancy when she was 15. In 2020, a family member of the victim reported the assaults to authorities, launching an investigation.
DNA evidence proved Jones was the father of the victim's child, who was born in 2012 when she was 16. Jones claimed he had some sexual contact with the victim but not intercourse, which was disproven.
During the trial, Jones unsuccessfully attempted to flee custody. After three days, the jury found him guilty on three counts of sexual assault of a child. He was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Cindy Ermatinger.
"It took courage for a family member to come forward and support the victim; she opened the door for the victim to find justice," said DA Montgomery. "As a community we must speak up when we suspect child abuse."
The case was prosecuted by Assistant DAs Sherry Roeder and Lisa Turner, investigated by Ennis PD, and supported by the DA's office. Montgomery praised the victim, now 25, for her strength and cooperation.