by Emily Waldrep
Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt pled two men to sexually assaulting a 14 year old Livingston girl at a Woodville motel in November of 2012 and a third man is expected to plead guilty to the same charge on Thursday.
One of the men, Hunt said, met the girl on the internet website, Meetme.com. The girl had posted that she was 18 years old and looking for a man for sex. The three men were in town from Kentucky to work on construction of the German Pellet Plant.
After communicating over the internet and text message, the men set up a meeting with the girl. The girl willingly got in the vehicle with the men, waited while the men went into the Livingston Walmart to buy beer, and rode back to Woodville with them.
"Once at the motel room, the three men and the girl smoked marijuana and drank beer," Hunt said. "Eventually, the men began to sexually assault the girl. All three took part, and one even used his cell phone to video record the others having sex with the girl."
Hunt says that the next morning, Woodville Police received information that the girl was a runaway and was at the motel. The girl was found, but made no outcry to police. She was returned to Polk County Sheriff's Deputies who returned her to her home. Once at home, she made an outcry to her grandfather. Her grandfather immediately took her to the Polk County Sheriff's Office who sent them back to the Woodville Police.
"Sgt. Jathan Borel and Officer Erin Dees interviewed the girl," Hunt said. " Just as the interview ended, the girl saw the three men drive up to the motel. Officers detained the men, searched their motel room, and gathered evidence. Part of the evidence gathered was the cell phone with the video recording."
Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt was preparing for a jury trial on one of the men, and a deal had been worked with the other two men to testify against the third man in exchange for shorter sentences. On Friday before the trial, Hunt had the defendant brought to the Tyler County District Courtroom with his attorney. Hunt showed the defendant the video from the motel and the defendant immediately changed his mind about the trial and decided to plead guilty.
"This is a win for everybody," said Hunt. "The county saves the expense of a trial, the girl doesn't have to testify, the video doesn't have to be shown, and three sexual predators are off the streets."
James Clayton and Matthew Byers plead guilty on May 27 in front of Judge Earl Stover. James Clayton received 12 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division. Matthew Byers received eight years. Joshua Clayton is scheduled to plead guilty before Judge Jerome Owens and receive eight years Thursday. All will have to register for life as sex offenders.