BRENHAM—A man was sentenced to 725 years in prison for crimes involving children Wednesday and prosecutors said this sends a clear message to other sex offenders.
A jury in the 21st District Court in Washington County found Benny Joseph Walker guilty of two counts of Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, and 125 counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
The sentencing phase began at 9 a.m. Wednesday and continued until just before lunch. The jury returned at 2 p.m. for closing arguments from District Attorney Julie Renken and counsel for the Defendant, Bruno Shimek. Judge Reva Towsley Corbett released the jury to deliberate shortly before 3 p.m. Based on the convictions announced Tuesday, Walker faced up to 3 life sentences and 1250 years for the 128 counts against him.
During closing arguments, Renken built on the theme Assistant District Attorney Lauren Haevischer set up on Tuesday, and emphasized the importance of sending a message on behalf of the community.
“It’s time to send a message to the other sex offenders, that we are tired of sexual abuse in our community.” Regarding punishment, Renken went on, “Yes I’m asking for 1250 years, and yes, I’m asking for 3 life sentences.”
The jury deliberated for almost 2 hours and announced a verdict shortly after 5:00 p.m. Judge Towsley Corbett needed over an hour to read the verdict forms and pronounced sentence after 6:30 p.m.
Walker was sentenced to incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a total of 725 years and fined a total of $155,000. The three sexual assault charges were punished at 75 years each, and ordered to be served consecutively. The 125 charges of child pornography were punished at four years each and ordered to run concurrently.
After the announcement was made, Renken praised the work done by law enforcement.
“The outstanding investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office made these verdicts possible. I cannot speak highly enough about what they, and the Texas Rangers, did on this case.” She continued, “This case took a toll on the jury, and we are so thankful for their attention and service. The verdict today says that the citizens of Washington County won’t tolerate this type of behavior.”