Mother, boyfriend sentenced to 30 years for sexually abusing dau - Tucson News Now

Mother, boyfriend sentenced to 30 years for sexually abusing daughter

April Jones (Left), Antavis Thornton (Right) (Source: Tallapoosa County Jail) April Jones (Left), Antavis Thornton (Right) (Source: Tallapoosa County Jail)

A Tallapoosa County mother and her boyfriend have learned their fate in prison after being convicted of multiple sex crimes involving the woman's daughter.

April Jones and Antavis Thornton were each sentenced to 30 years behind bars during a hearing at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse Annex in Alexander City on Monday.

Two weeks ago, a jury found Jones, the victim’s mother, and Thornton, Jones’ boyfriend, guilty of two counts of sodomy, sexual abuse of a child less than 12, and rape. Jones was also convicted of aggravated child abuse.

Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Duerr handled the case, which was brought to light in 2014 when an anonymous email was sent to the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The tipster stated that they had witnessed Thornton perform sex acts on Jones’ daughter, who was five-years-old at the time.

The abuse happened at their home in New Site.

An investigation was launched and a forensic interview and other extended interviews were conducted with the victim, during which she disclosed the multiple things that had been done to her by her mother’s boyfriend.

The couple was arrested and charged.

Then, Duerr says a witness in jail with April Jones says she confided in her that she performed some of the sex acts on her child because Thornton said it would improve their own sex life.

It’s the second time that one of Jones’ boyfriends has been convicted of molesting her daughter. 

“This is the second boyfriend in a matter of about three years that has now been convicted of sexually abusing this little girl. And that had a lot to do with why we brought the charges against the mother because we don’t think there was any way possible she didn’t know this was going on,” Duerr said.

According to prosecutors, the child was also found “living in filth.” She had severe head lice, and had lesions and blisters all over her body.

Due to the deplorable conditions the child was living in at the time and the fact that he believes the sexual abuse happened on multiple occasions, Duerr says it is one of the worst cases of abuse he’s seen in his 12 years with the District Attorney’s Office.

“Just the conditions of the home, and the child had several medical conditions basically due to not being taken care of and neglect,” Duerr added.

Under new sentencing statutes for sex offenders and sex crimes, Jones and Thornton will serve roughly 90-95 percent of their sentences because of the charges and age of the victim.

“They will not get any type of good time for good credit,” Duerr said. “That brings us a lot of satisfaction knowing that they will not be able to harm another child, period.”

Meanwhile, Jones’ daughter is being cared for by a foster family. They were pleased with the outcome of the case, Duerr indicated.

“She’s loved and cared for like she’s supposed to be. That’s why I do what I do, to have that kind of outcome,” he said.  “I think it sends a message to people out there who may think about harming a child that, Alex City especially, is not the place to do it.”

Calls to Antavis Thornton’s attorney were not returned Monday afternoon.

Charles Gillenwaters, who was the court appointed attorney for April Jones, has requested that she have a split sentence, meaning that she would spend the first several years of her sentence in prison and the rest on probation. The judge will either deny or grant the request.

If she does not get the split sentence, Jones will “appeal everything,” Gillenwaters said.

He called it a “tough case” and commended the judge for how it was handled. He has filed a motion to withdraw as Jones’ lawyer. She will need to find separate counsel to represent her on her appeal. 

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. 

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