Richard Howell Davis, 57, guilty on 19 counts

Man found guilty of child rape, incest gets life sentence

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Cherokee Judicial Circuit Judge Suzanne H. Smith sentenced a man convicted of raping his own granddaughter Tuesday to life in prison plus 20 years to serve, with an additional 20 years on probation.

A Bartow County Superior Court jury found Richard Howell Davis, 57, of Cartersville guilty on 15 counts last month. He was sentenced to life in prison — which means that under current state code, he will not be eligible for parole for at least 30 years — on one count of aggravated sexual battery. He was given another life sentence, to be served concurrently with the first sentence, for rape.

During the trial, the victim said the sexual abuse began when she was in the ninth grade and continued for four years.

Davis was also given a consecutive 20-year sentence for one count of child molestation plus another 20-year probation sentence for an additional child molestation count.

Other counts concurrent with the aggravated sexual battery life sentence include a 30-year sentence for criminal attempt to commit a felony, a 30-year sentence for incest, two 20-year-sentences for two additional counts of child molestation, two 12-month sentences for two counts of sexual battery, two 20-year sentences for two counts of sexual exploitation of children, a 10-year sentence for influencing a witness and a five-year sentence for peeping tom.

Davis also pleaded guilty to several drug charges earlier this year. He received three separate three-year sentences for three counts of methamphetamine possession and a 12-month sentence for possession of drug-related objects — all of which are concurrent with his aggravated sexual battery life sentence.

Davis will receive credit for time served dating back to June 1, 2017.

Defense attorney Matthew Hoskins asked Judge Smith to take Davis' age into consideration prior to sentencing. 

Senior Assistant District Attorney Sharon Fox requested Smith go along with the state's sentencing recommendations — which she did.

"He's made some bad choices, particularly with his own family," Fox said. "We feel like this is a just and fair sentence ... this is particularly devastating to [the victim] and it's devastating to their family."

Smith, who requested a pre-sentencing investigation after jurors rendered their verdict in the case, agreed.

"It was evident from the testimony in this case," she said, "that this case was devastating to the family [and] it's not something that anything I can say here today is going to change."