A Waco man was sentenced to life in prison Friday after his conviction for sexually assaulting a young family member with special needs.

Jurors in Waco’s 54th State District Court deliberated about 90 minutes Friday before deciding punishment for 36-year-old Damien Rayshawn Betters, who also served time as a juvenile for sexually assaulting family members. The jury also recommended a $10,000 fine.

The jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before finding Betters guilty of one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child but acquitting him on a second count of the same offense.

During deliberations Thursday, jurors asked for the testimony from the victim, who is now 13, to be read back to them concerning her description of the assault charged in count 2. The girl testified that Betters digitally penetrated her under her clothing in a bathroom when she was 7, as charged in count 1.

The girl, described by a prosecutor as “intellectually delayed,” testified that Betters molested her above her clothing in count 2, which likely resulted in the not guilty verdict. Count 2 also alleged digital penetration.

Betters, who has eight children, denied the allegations. He said he and certain family members, including the girl’s mother, do not get along and that they have been trying to get him in trouble with police and Child Protective Services workers for years. He said CPS workers investigated allegations that he sexually abused other family members and determined the allegations to be unfounded.

In a victim-impact statement Friday, the girl’s mother told Betters she would have done something had she been aware he was sexually assaulting members of the family.

Betters interrupted the woman’s statement, shouting, “Lord will have my revenge.” He complained that the woman and other witnesses lied in their testimonies against him.

Judge Matt Johnson ordered deputies to remove Betters from the courtroom before the woman finished her statement because of the prolonged argument between the two.

Betters’ attorney, Walter M. Reaves Jr., declined comment after the trial.

Betters must serve at least 30 years in prison before he can seek parole. Trial testimony showed Betters also has two felony convictions for failure to register as a sex offender, and misdemeanor convictions for assault, theft of property and criminal trespass.

In punishment testimony Thursday, another family member testified that Betters sexually assaulted her and several other family members when they were younger. Betters, who was 14 at the time, was sent to a Texas Youth Commission facility in the assaults. He stayed there until he turned 18, prosecutors Ryan Bownds and Sydney Tuggle said.

The woman said Betters assaulted her 173 times. As she spoke, Betters grew agitated, squirmed in his chair and held his head in his hands.

“Why are you doing this?” he asked her.

“Why did you do that to me?” she answered.

In closing statements, Bownds told the jury Betters was caught in multiple lies in his statements to police and in his trial testimony.

“He lies and blames everyone else for his problems,” Bownds said. “Narcissism is the Achilles’ heel of every sex offender.”

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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