Longview, TX — After nearly six hours of deliberations over the guilt or innocence of a Longview man accused of sexual assault of a child, jury foreman Mark Ferguson alerted the court bailiff that the jury was split a second time.
Jurors soon learned Thursday that their deliberations over the case of Johnny Mumphrey had reached an unexpected end — the defendant entered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of indecency with a child-sexual contact.
In what turned out to be an 11th-hour decision that thwarted what was headed for a mistrial, Mumphrey, 37, accepted a 10-year deferred adjudication probation. The deal included a provision for a possible life sentence if he is ever convicted of another sexual offense.
Defense attorney Scott Novy and Assistant District Attorney Jenny Huckle worked out details of the agreement while jurors were on their lunch break.
Ferguson believes the plea agreement was his answer to a plea of his own, after the jury failed to compromise on the he-said, he-said, she-said ordeal.
“You look at him, he comes from a great family, beautiful wife, kids. There’s nothing that says he is a, for (lack of a) better word, child molester. Not that it says that, but I have to look at what (the victim) said,” the jury foreman said. “So, who do you believe, given bits and pieces of both of them? How do you come to an understanding on that? You pray. I prayed a lot, and God answered that prayer.”
Ferguson said the case was “beyond emotional.” Jurors wrestled with the testimony of three central witnesses: the victim, who said Mumphrey sexually assaulted him from the time he was 8 years old until he reached college; Mumphrey, who admitted having consensual sex with the victim three times after he turned 18; and the victim’s mother, who said Mumphrey lacked access to her son through most of the time period of the alleged abuse because he did not live with Mumphrey until he was 12 or 13.
The mother also testified Tuesday that she continues to see Mumphrey on a daily basis but had not spoken to her son in about three weeks.
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