Victor Leon

Victor Leon

BELTON — It may have been 17 years coming, but a Bell County fugitive was sentenced Monday to the 80 years a jury originally gave him.

Victor Leon, now 58, of Victoria, was sentenced for aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.

Leon sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl in June 1996.

The sentence was originally meant to be imposed in 2002, but a Bell County judge let Leon stay out of jail one night to get things in order before he was sentenced, Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said.

Leon skipped town, but the jury sentenced him in his absence to 80 years in prison, Garza said.

That sentence was pronounced to Leon in Bell County 264th District Court Judge Paul LePak’s courtroom.

He was arrested Oct. 16 by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department after a fugitive task force found him in Navasota. Bell County Sheriff’s Department put a felony hold on him, and Leon returned to Bell County.

“This capture is the culmination of years of constant effort in attempting to find a man that was avoiding detection for obvious reasons,” Garza said. “I would like to extent my gratitude to the outstanding efforts of the Bell County District Attorney’s Office investigators, the Victoria County District Attorney’s Office investigators, the United States Marshals fugitive service and the Navasota Police Department for their successful dedication to bringing Victor Leon to see that justice was served.”

Representing Leon was Belton attorney John Galligan.

Leon got 34 days of jail credit. Galligan filed a notice of appeal, he said. He was allowed to withdraw and asked the court to appoint an appellate lawyer.