BELTON — Concurrent or consecutive? That was the main question in a Bell County courtroom Thursday after a jury sentenced a Killeen man to 17 years in prison after finding him guilty on Wednesday of two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
The jury of eight men and four women began deliberating on punishment on Wednesday afternoon after finding Ronald James Bias, 33, guilty.
However, the state’s prosecutors filed a motion to have the 17-year sentence “stacked” instead of being served concurrently.
The state’s prosecutor argued that Bias was convicted on both counts.
“This will be your choice, judge, but we have abuse of an ongoing nature and multiple sex acts and a victim who delayed her outcry because of fear, shame and guilt,” said Assistant District Attorney Erica Morgan.
Defense attorney Mike White argued that the sentence should be served concurrently.
“If they really believed that, the charge would have been continuous sexual assault of a child, with a minimum of 25 years,” he said.
After considering case law and arguments, LePak granted the state’s motion and Bias was sentenced to 34 years in prison.
White indicated that an appellate attorney should be appointed to Bias’s case.
“We were not notified of the state’s intent to stack the sentence,” White said.
Bias was listed in the Bell County Jail in lieu of $130,000 in bonds.
The trial started in the 264th Judicial District Court on Monday and by Wednesday morning both the state and defense had rested their cases.
During a forensic interview that was shown to the jury on Wednesday as part of the defense’s case, the girl said that Bias “was doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing.” When asked to elaborate, she described sexual assaults that happened more than once and starting when she was 8 years old.
The interviewer asked her to talk about the first time it happened and the girl said she could not remember.
The girl first told her grandmother about the assaults, which were reported to Killeen police on July 6, 2017.
Bias also is facing a charge of theft by check of more than $2,500 but less than $30,000, a state jail felony.