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Gilmer man sentenced to prison for manslaughter, child sex assault

From Staff Reports
Sept. 18, 2013 at 10 p.m.

A Gilmer man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter and two counts of sexual assault of a child.

Benjamin Lee Powers, 21, received two 14-year sentences and one 15-year sentence from 115th District Court Judge Lauren Parish. The sentences will run concurrently.

Powers was originally placed on 10 years deferred adjudication on the manslaughter charge and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, complete 400 hours of community service, participate in a victim impact panel and receive counseling.

He was indicted on manslaughter charges in February 2012 for his role in a fatal wreck Dec. 30, 2011. Nineteen-year-old Caderrius Green died in the wreck, according to Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd's office.

Powers was originally charged with criminally negligent homicide, but the charge was upgraded to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, according Byrd's office.

The wreck occurred when Powers was driving a 2003 Ford F-250 pickup and tried to pass a vehicle in a no-passing zone on FM 49 when he lost control of the truck. Green was thrown from the vehicle, according to a Department of Public Safety report. Powers and Cody Garcia, 17, were treated for minor injuries. Powers was arrested Dec. 31.

The indictment said that driving on the wrong side of the road in a no-passing zone on the crest of a hill and traveling faster than the posted speed limit caused Powers to lose control of the truck, resulting in Green's death.

Charges of sexual assault of a child stem from a complaint made by Powers' girlfriends' father after he learned his daughter was pregnant with Power's child, Byrd said. The girl was 15 at the time, Byrd said.

"The victim would not cooperate; but since the defendant never denied it and admitted to having the sexual relationship and maintained that he and the victim were going to get married, I had enough to continue the prosecution," Byrd said in an email statement. "The grandparents of the girlfriend and everyone else in her family were supportive of us prosecuting him."



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