Local man sentenced in child sexual assault case
A Big Spring man received three 30-year prison sentences after being convicted of child sexual abuse Wednesday.Hector Manuel Gonzales Jr., 33, of 3730 Adams St., was assessed the sentences — along with a $10,000 fine — at the end of a two-day trial in 118th District Court.He will serve the sentences concurrently. Under state law, he will not become eligible for parole until he has been in prison at least 15 years.Gonzales had been indicted on four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child — a first degree felony — by a Howard County grand jury in April. He faced a possible maximum sentence of 99 years or life in prison.Assistant District Attorney Robin D. Orr, who prosecuted the case, expressed satisfaction with the sentence.“The jury had a very difficult task — the evidence centered mainly on the testimony of the victim vs. that of the accused,” Orr said. “But I am well-satisfied with the sentence.”The jury determined Gonzales had sexually assaulted the victim, a minor under the age of 14 who was a member of his extended family, on at least three occasions during a period of time between March and November 2010.Orr believes the victim's testimony was the compelling factor in the jury's decision.“The only evidence was the testimony of the victim and the victim's mother,” he said. “I believe the jury's perception of the victim was such that they believed her and that's what ultimately led to the conviction.”Gonzales, who was represented by local attorney Don Richard, is in custody at the Howard County Detention Center pending his transfer to state prison.