Macon – A 40-year-old Macon man was sentenced to prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to having sex with an underage girl.
A trial had been set to begin Tuesday for Jermaine Antonio Howard. Howard instead pleaded guilty to statutory rape, five counts of child molestation and one count of terroristic threats as part of a plea agreement.
A Bibb County Superior Court judge sentenced Howard to serve 30 years. The first 15 years must be served in prison.
If the case had gone to trial, prosecutor Shelley Milton would have presented evidence showing:
Howard began having inappropriate conversations with the girl when she was 12 and the two began a sexual relationship after the girl’s 13th birthday in 2016.
The relationship continued until June 2018 when a member of the girl’s family discovered graphic text messages from Howard on her cell phone. Confronted about the texts, the girl disclosed the details of her relationship with Howard and a law enforcement investigation began.
Evidence also would have been presented showing Howard threatened to kill the girl and harm her family if she told anyone about their relationship.
Speaking after the hearing, District Attorney David Cooke said, “Mr. Howard sought to exploit his relationship with this young girl for his own twisted sexual desires. I’m glad we could get justice for her and the community while sparing her the added trauma of having to testify at trial. With this sentence, it will be many years before Mr. Howard will be a free man. I hope that he takes this time to reflect on the damage he’s caused this girl and her family.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack