BELTON — A Temple man may spend the rest of his life in prison.
William Levi Oliver, 32, found guilty Thursday of aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child, was sentenced Friday to two terms of life in prison as well as a 20-year sentence. A jury of seven men and five women determined the sentences.
Oliver, who was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact, let tears silently trickle down his flushed face — but he didn’t make a sound.
Judge Fancy Jezek told the courtroom that no outbursts or emotional demonstrations would be allowed. Oliver’s family and friends bowed their heads and quietly cried as the life sentences were read.
The jurors were dismissed. One male juror looked at the victim and her family and briefly smiled and nodded his head before he walked out.
After the sentence was read, the victim and her grandmother delivered short impact statements.
The victim said with a shaky voice, “I forgive you for what you have done. I still love you.”
“I hope both of you turn your hearts to God before it’s too late,” the grandmother said, as she addressed Oliver and his wife, Kimberly Oliver.
Before he left the courtroom to return to the jail, Oliver turned to look at his crying family and friends. He shook his head and walked out.
Oliver will get credit for the 20 days he served in the Bell County Jail, Jezek said. He’s not eligible for parole until he serves at least half of his sentence or at least 30 years.
“Williams and his wife were devastated. These are now, in the current environment, the hardest cases to defend,” his attorney, Michael White, said, referring to the Me Too movement.
“Cases like this in the past two years have become much more difficult to defend,” White said. “We will appeal.”
“There are no winners in these tough cases,” he said.
The Bell County District Attorney’s Office didn’t answer Telegram responses for comments by press time Friday.
Kimberly Oliver believes her husband was “unjustly convicted,” she said. Oliver claimed the investigator didn’t do her job.
“We will keep fighting. We’re going to appeal,” she said.
Oliver had surgery a week ago for internal bleeding, Kimberly said. She was supposed to visit him later Friday, and she’ll visit him as much as possible.
“I have a support system. I’m in this with him to the very end,” Kimberly said. “I got a life sentence today, too. But I trust and have faith.”
Witnesses in the case
The victim and the victim’s uncle were called by Bell County Assistant District Attorney Anne Jackson as witnesses. The uncle talked about the nightmare the victim has had to live with and that she will never have a “normal life.”
The victim said the sexual assaults started when she was 9 or 10 years old but, according to the arrest affidavit, the assaults started when she was 7. The victim is currently 14 years old.
She told someone about the assaults that “happened a lot” when she was 12, she told Jackson. The victim said she told a relative, but the relative didn’t believe her.
The 12-year-old claimed in June 2017 that Oliver inappropriately touched her starting when she was 7, an arrest affidavit said. The complaint was made to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, and Lt. Michele Cianci, director of the Special Crimes Unit, conducted the investigation.
An affidavit said Oliver inappropriately touched the girl and forced her to have sex with him.
Oliver gave her money, and the amount depended on what she did, the victim told Jackson. She said the money made her happy, but what happened “ruined her life.”
“I still love him,” she said from the stand, “but I don’t feel safe.”
White called two of Oliver’s friends — both veterans — to talk about Oliver’s character. Each said Oliver was like a brother and they trusted him. Both also said it was difficult for them to understand and believe what the victim said he did. Oliver was called loyal, loving and caring.
Jackson stressed the short amount of time each had known Oliver and the special relationship between combat veterans.
When reading the charge to the jurors, Jezek made an unintentional mistake that later caused multiple questions from the jurors. She indicated the sentence for indecency with a child by sexual contact was from two to 20 years or life — which was incorrect.
Assistant District Attorney Debbie Garrett began the final arguments.
Garrett argued that Oliver deserved a life sentence, and the jurors had the “power and responsibility to ensure he never harmed another child.” She said the victim would have to “face that demon” in every step of her life.
“He will always be a living, breathing threat to society,” Garrett said.
White stood before the jurors and stated the worst moment of Oliver’s life was when he heard the guilty verdicts Thursday.
He urged the jurors to remember and consider what others said about Oliver’s character.
“Mercy is not earned but given,” White said.
In the final closing arguments, Jackson reminded jurors that very few things belong to children, but the one thing that does is their body.
“This man took that from her,” Jackson said. “In his quiet, dark moments he harmed her. It’s up to you to decide what standard to hold him to.”
After less than an hour after the hearing began, the jury was sequestered at 10:25 a.m. to deliberate. They returned to the courtroom at 12:05 p.m.