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Bells Sex Offender Sentenced

Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown

From news release:

On Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Howard Cravens, Jr., 57, from Bells, TX was found guilty by a jury in the 15th District Court of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Cravens was sentenced by Judge Jim Fallon to 75 years in prison.

On October 19, 2003, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl. The girl told her mother that Cravens, who was a family friend, had sexually assaulted her several times over the previous weeks. Grayson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator David Sikes took the girl for a forensic interview, and to be evaluated by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at Texoma Medical Center. The medical evaluation revealed evidence of sexual assault. As some of the assaults were alleged to have taken place inside the city limits of Sherman, Sherman detective Shirley Musani also investigated charges against Cravens. Musani recovered a calendar from the victims bedroom which documented journal-type entries in which the victim noted encounters with Cravens.

After the jury convicted Cravens, Assistant District Attorney Brett Smith introduced evidence that Cravens had twice previously been convicted of felony drug offenses. Smith introduced evidence that, at the time of the sexual assaults, Cravens was on parole after being sentenced to 99 years in prison by a Navarro County jury in 1989 for Aggravated Possession of a Controlled Substance. Upon rendering the sentence of 75 years for the current charges, Judge Jim Fallon ordered that Cravens sentence would be “stacked”, or served consecutively, on top of the 99 year sentence this sentence for which Cravens had been paroled.

"With the stacking of the sentences, I am confident that Mr. Cravens will not be getting out of prison," said Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown. "It is this type of repeat offender, that we really want to take to trial and get them off of the street permanently."

Smith, who prosecuted the case, is one of three local attorneys hired by Brown on a part-time contract basis under a new initiative funded by Grayson County to reduce the average length of stay of jail inmates before there cases are disposed. Cravens had been held in the Grayson County jail for over 2 years awaiting trial.

"We are seeing some great results with the contract prosecutors," said Brown. "In the 10 weeks they have been working, we have seen the average length of stay of jail inmates drop significantly."

Denison attorney R. J. Hagood represented Cravens.