By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – A Bell County jury sentenced a 19-year-old man to eight years in prison Thursday for raping a 12-year-old girl in 2006.

Billy Denzel Shell was sentenced in Judge Fancy Jezek's 426th District Court Thursday for a March 17, 2006, incident. Shell was found guilty Wednesday afternoon after a little over an hour of jury deliberations.

Shell raped the girl sometime after taking her for a ride following a social function in a neighborhood park. The incident occurred the day after Shell turned 17, the legal age an individual can be prosecuted as an adult.

Shell also had 262 days' credit for time served.

Assistant District Attorney Shelley Strimple served as the lead prosecutor on the case. She said her main concern was getting prison time since Shell hadn't been convicted of a prior felony and was eligible for probation.

"I am glad the jury held him responsible and made him accountable for what he did to this girl," Strimple said. "I would have been happier if he had gotten more time, but I think the jury (factored his age into their decision)."

The incident occurred on a Friday, and the victim reported it to her parents the following Monday. The parents reported it to police the next day.

Like most cases of this type, there was no physical evidence of the sexual assault, Strimple said, but Shell did tell several members of his family and friends that he had sex with the girl that night.

One of those friends testified against him earlier this week.

Shell had one outstanding felony charge for drug possession when an Ecstasy pill was found in the police car in which he was arrested.

Bell County prosecutors also had Shell's juvenile record unsealed. It revealed two prior charges, the first of which came when Shell was 12. The charges were evading arrest, and the other was possession of marijuana on school property.

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-7568.

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