WATER VALLEY – A Water Valley man was sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years after a jury convicted him of sexual battery of a child under 14, fondling a child and child pornography possession.
Circuit Judge Smith Murphey told Timothy Aaron Dewberry, 42, that his days of freedom were over as he handed down the sentence following pleas for leniency from Dewberry’s father and girlfriend during the hearing on Sept. 5.
Judge Murphey provided an overview of the evidence presented to the jury before imposing the sentence, briefly addressing all three counts after Dewberry was convicted by a jury on August 17 following a four-day trial. The judge started with the victim’s testimony during the trial.
“What happened is that a child came into to this courtroom and in the presence of 14 jurors, and in the presence of the defendant himself, subject to cross-examination by a skilled lawyer, told us in detail…,” Murphey said about the testimony.
The judge then cited graphic photos of the victim on the Dewberry’s phone.
“I know there was an explanation given, but the jury didn’t buy it,” Judge Murphey stated.
Next he addressed the extensive search history for pedophilia websites on Dewberry’s phone, explaining people in the courtroom need to know this detail.
“If they walk out of this door and never speak of this case again, they need to know and understand the other information that came from the defendant’s phone. Which is searches on the internet,” Murphey told attendees in the packed courtroom.
“Mr. Dewberry, I have no idea what your life expectancy is. All that is dependent upon more medical evidence than is before the court. But I also know this, regardless of what your life expectancy is, your days of freedom are over,” the judge said.
Judge Murphey then announced the sentence for each charge, a life sentence for count one, sexual battery of a child; 15 years for count two, fondling a child; and 40 years for count three, child pornography possession. The judge ordered that counts two and three run concurrently and consecutive to the life sentence.
“It is the order and intent of this court that you are hereby sentenced to life plus 40 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections,” Murphey told the defendant.
Prior to the sentencing, Donald Dewberry and Jessica Alexander testified on behalf of the defendant.
Alexander said she was a long-time co-worker and also his girlfriend. Alexander testified about the strong bond Dewberry has with his parents and son.
“His parents and I need to step outside of jail before too much time passes,” Alexander told the judge.
Donald Dewberry, told the judge that he and his son have a long-standing agreement.
“If you do something wrong and lie to me about it and I find out, I am going to punish you twice. Once for lying to me and once for what you did. But if you tell me what you did, your punishment will be far less,” he explained.
“They offered him 10 years,” Donald Dewberry told the judge about a plea deal that was offered before his son went to trial. “He said ‘I am not admitting to something I did not do,” the father added. “All a man has is his word.”