By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON — It took about 20 seconds for Judge Fancy Jezek to sentence Lionel Edwin Snow to 45 years in prison Tuesday.
A jury on July 10 convicted Snow, 26, of aggravated sexual assault for a brutal rape that left the female victim with 14 injuries to her face alone.
Snow placed his hands over his ears and face shortly after Jezek issued his sentence. He could have faced 99 years in prison.
During brief testimony, the victim's mother testified that following the Jan. 22 rape at Snow's home, she had to prepare her children for the appearance of the victim.
"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," she said. "She was just so beaten, bloody and bruised."
The sight of the victim caused her 15-year-old sister to cry hysterically for at least 45 minutes, the mother testified. Throughout the trial, Bell County prosecutor Shelley Strimple repeatedly used a photo taken the night of the assault depicting the victim's swollen face.
Strimple continued to do so Tuesday when she showed the photo to Snow's mother, causing the woman to admit the characteristics of the crime pointed toward a violent offender.
The victim had gone to Snow's Carrie Drive home to buy drugs, she testified during the trial.
Snow then raped the woman at knifepoint, forcing her to perform multiple sexual acts while threatening to kill her and continuously injuring her, testimony showed.
Police found evidence of an assault at various locations in his house.
The victim eventually required surgery to repair damage to her skull.
It took the victim about six weeks to physically recover from the assault, her mother said. But lasting psychological damage continues to linger six months after she was raped.
"It got worse before it started getting better," her mother said.
The victim began cutting herself. She had done it in the past, but at one point she cut herself so severely she had to be taken to a psychiatric hospital for three days.
"Every day is a little better, a little stronger," the victim's mother said. "She'll be OK in the end."
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.