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Calvin Lyons

NEW BOSTON, Texas — A man who sodomized a 10-year-old girl he met through social media last January was sentenced to 65 years in prison Wednesday by a Bowie County jury.

Calvin Delmonte Lyons III, 26, was a week away from his 25th birthday the night of Jan. 11, 2019, when he drove to a house in rural Bowie County and picked up a girl who had turned 10 the week before. The girl testified under questioning from First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp that she expected Lyons to give her a ride to someone else's house when he took her to his home on Carver Circle in Texarkana, Texas.

The girl testified that Lyons never asked her age, even after the fourth-grader pointed to a middle school and said she hoped to go to school there. In his bedroom, Lyons undressed the child and sexually assaulted her in two different ways.

The girl had difficulty testifying when she spoke of the assaults.

"The pain. The pain," the victim testified.

It was about 9 a.m. the following morning, Jan. 12, 2019, when the girl's parents discovered she was missing.

"It was just a normal Saturday. We had coffee and cooked and then I went in her room to see how many eggs she wanted and she wasn't there," the victim's mother testified. "I was in shock. I was scared to death."

Area law enforcement sprung into action. Every on-duty Bowie County Sheriff's Office deputy scoured the property and outbuildings where the girl lived and began contacting her school friends. The girl's parents realized her cell phone and electronic tablet were missing but the devices were turned off and could not be tracked.

The girl testified that she finally convinced Lyons to take her to the home of a friend who lived in Texarkana, Texas, the day after the assault. While there, a relative of her friend recognized the girl from photos she'd seen on social media and in the news media identifying her as a missing child. A woman in that house arranged to meet Texarkana, Texas, police in the parking lot of a local health clinic and turn over the missing girl at about 7 p.m.

Texarkana, Texas, Police Officer Colton Johnson testified that the victim was very short, had a "baby face" and was clearly a child the night she was returned to her distraught parents.

Bowie County Capt. Robby McCarver testified that in comparison to the rest of the Carver Circle house where Lyons lived with family, his bedroom was in total disarray and that "the odor was overwhelming."

Photographs of the bedroom showed a jar of petroleum jelly and bottle of hand lotion on the bed. McCarver testified that clothing and bed sheets soiled during the sexual assault and collected from Lyons' bedroom were so foul smelling that the items had to be stored in the basement of the Bi-State Justice Building rather than in the third-floor room typically used to secure evidence.

Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards, experts with the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab testified that Lyons' DNA was found on swabs collected from the girl's body collected during a sexual assault examination the night of Jan. 12, 2019.

Lyons did not testify in the guilt or innocence phase of his trial but did take the stand during the punishment phase. Under questioning by his lawyer, Josh Potter of Texarkana, Lyons testified that he is a graduate of a local high school and played football at Southern Arkansas University though he did not obtain a degree. Lyons testified he was diagnosed a couple of years ago with schizophrenia and hears voices but said he was deemed competent to stand trial.

Under cross-examination, Crisp asked Lyons why he didn't ask the girl her age when he offered through the app "MeetMe" to give her a ride.

"She told me she was 18 (on the app) and I just ran with it," Lyons said.

Lyons admitted he knew the girl was not of age when he saw her.

During the punishment phase, Bowie County Investigator Jonathan Matlock testified that he responded to a disturbance call at Lyons' ex-wife's home in December 2018. Lyons had kicked in her door and began punching her in the face as she slept in bed with her and Lyons' 3-year-old child. A few weeks later, Lyons picked up the 10-year-old at the end of her driveway.

Lyons was sentenced to two 65 terms which will run concurrently. Lyons will have to serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole.

"The jury did not observe, at any point, remorse from Lyons during his testimony. Instead, the jury heard outrageous testimony: Lyons picked up a 10-year-old child, drove her from Maud to Texarkana, and assaulted her in a despicable, heinous manner at his mother's house. After convicting him in a matter of minutes, the jury heard that Lyons had previously strangled and assaulted his wife, once in front of their three year old son," Crisp said. "Last week, with Linda Dooley and this week with Calvin Lyons, two separate Bowie County juries handed down severe punishments for sexual exploitation and abuse of child victims. The Bowie County District Attorney's Office appreciates these jury verdicts and the extraordinary efforts, in each case, of the Bowie County Sheriff's Department which worked with us to secure justice."

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