FROM STAFF REPORTS
LLANO — A Llano County jury handed a former police officer two life sentences May 31 after he was found guilty of molesting a 9-year-old girl while on a family trip, according to court testimony.
424th Judicial District Judge Evan Stubbs presided over the three-day jury trial, held in the Llano County Courthouse.
Billy Joe Roush, 70, of Kingsland was accused of sexually assaulting the girl in the spring of 2017 while the two were riding in a travel trailer while it was being pulled down the road by the girl’s family.
Since the location of the alleged incidents could not be determined, state law allows for the county of residence for the accuser or the accused to conduct the jury trial.
In Roush’s case, counselors agreed to hold court in Llano County, where the defendant lived at the time.
During the trial, the accuser, now 11, and another accuser, an adult who was a child at the time of the defendant’s assault on her, both testified against Roush.
In the sentencing phase, three additional accusers surfaced, two of whom are now adults and the other a child to make statements against the defendant.
Other allegations involved inappropriate comments made to at least three of the alleged victims and an incident in which one alleged victim was forced to view pornographic material.
The defense also introduced information about Roush, including his past police and military service as well as him raising his two sons.
The jury, comprised of seven men and five women, deliberated for more than six hours to reach a guilty verdict on two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and deliberated 45 minutes to recommend two life sentences, which the judge stacked so Roush must serve the first life sentence before the second begins.
“Every citizen is entitled to a vigorous defense. That’s exactly what we gave Mr. Roush and did everything we could to defend him,” said defense attorney Austin Shell of Shell and Shell Associates law firm.
Another child sexual abuse case is pending against Roush in Madison County.