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story.lead_photo.caption David Anthony Turney

NEW BOSTON, Texas —A Bowie County jury sentenced a Hooks, Texas, man to life in prison without parole Thursday afternoon after finding him guilty that morning of the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14.

David Anthony Turney, 34, took the stand Wednesday and denied he ever inappropriately touched either of two girls who claim he sexually assaulted them repeatedly. The victim was born in 2006 and described multiple instances of sexual assault occurring from 2015 to May 2017.

Her older sister, born in 2004, made similar allegations and charges concerning those alleged assaults remain pending against Turney. Both girls testified this week that Turney made them play "special kid" and provided them with rewards such as candy and Pokemon cards for their cooperation and silence.

The girls' mother testified Tuesday that she became concerned after finding a sex toy on a bathroom shelf where it should not have been. The mother contacted police after her two oldest daughters admitted that Turney, a relative who lived with them, had been molesting them for some time. The girls testified that they were assaulted by Turney separately and were unaware of the abuse the other was suffering at the time it was occurring.

Continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 includes a 25-year minimum punishment and there is no parole possible for any sentence imposed for the offense under Texas law. Turney will be held in the Bowie County jail until he is transported to a unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Turney is entitled to court-appointed counsel to represent him in a direct appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

At trial, Turney was represented by Texarkana lawyers Bart Craytor and Danny Cook. Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter, who handled the prosecution, said she appreciates the jury's careful consideration of the case.

"Thank you to the men and women on this jury," Carter said. "They sent a strong message that children in our community will be protected."