For Immediate Release
Contact Stephen Tyler
THOMAS ANDERSON HATFIELD, 23 years old, of Victoria was sentenced to 50 years (day for day) in prison after being convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault against a two year old child. The defendant will also be serving 20 years in prison because the jury found he had also committed an Aggravated Assault against the same child.
The jury took less than 20 minutes to find Thomas Anderson Hatfield guilty of Aggravated Sexual Assault and Aggravated Assault. The jury took about 45 minutes after the punishment phase of the trial to sentence him to prison. Under the parole law applicable to the Aggravated Sexual Assault, the defendant will not be eligible for parole; therefore, he must serve every single day of his sentence. The legislature amended the law in 2007 and mandated more severe sentences for offenders who target young victims for sexual abuse.
On November 9, 2011, the defendant was taking care of his girlfriend's daughter while she went to work. When he was asked to bring some items to where his girlfriend was working, the child's mother noticed that the child had blood in her diaper. The child was taken to the emergency room at the Citizens Medical Center where she underwent a sexual abuse examination.Leslie Kallus, a SANE nurse, testified that she examined the child and noted that the child had a laceration to her sexual organ that was "deep" and "0.3 cm" in length. Ms. Kallus further testified that the laceration was made by a sharp instrument. The location of the injury was similar to what doctors do to assist a mother at child birth. Ms. Kallus testified that during the exam the child was actively bleeding from her wound. A SANE kit and the child's diaper were taken into evidence by the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.
A DPS forensic scientist testified that the diaper contained the defendant's semen along with his DNA. A day after the child's visit to the hospital, the defendant met with Investigator Angela Martinez of the Victoria County Sherriff's Office (VCSO). Investigator Martinez testified that the defendant proposed at least four different scenarios as to how the child was injured. Towards the end of the interview, the defendant told the investigator that he had cut the child because she had interrupted his video game playing.
The jury did not believe the defendant's rendition of the events. "I believe that the DNA evidence and the injuries suffered by that young child showed that this defendant cut the child to assist in the sexual assault of the child. The injuries to the child described by the SANE nurse and the child's mother have been some of the most troubling that I have seen in my career. The investigation done by Investigator Angela Martinez and the rest of the VCSO ensured that this defendant does not hurt another child in the future," said Assistant District Attorney Eli E. Garza.
After the jury convicted the defendant, the child's mother testified that the victim suffered nightmares for several months after the offense, but is doing better today. "The jury's verdict demonstrates they are very interested in protecting our most valuable commodity, our children. " Garza said. "I hope that the victim and her family are able to move forward with their lives."