A Houston man was sentenced to three years in prison, but could spend as few as 120 days in a treatment program.

Originally, Edward Durbin was charged with child molestation and the lesser included “attempted” child molestation. It took two jury trials for the state to obtain a conviction on the lesser-included charge. In January 2020, the first jury deliberated for approximately six hours before it announced that it was hopelessly deadlocked. That announcement prompted Circuit Judge William E. Hickle into declaring a mistrial.

At the second jury trial, the jury found Durbin not guilty of the actual child molestation charge, but found him guilty of the lesser-included “attempted” child molestation charge. This lowered the maximum punishment from 10 years to 7 years in prison.

The charge dates back to allegations made on April 29, 2018. On that day, a Houston Police Department officer responded to a Houston residence regarding a report of possible child molestation. The officer contacted a 13-year-old girl there who stated she had been babysitting at her mother’s Augusta Street home earlier that day, and a man who was a family friend was also there doing laundry. The officer contacted the girl’s grandmother, who gave consent for the girl to be questioned. After an investigation, the officer determined the man, Edward Durbin, inappropriately touched the girl, according to authorities.

The officer contacted Durbin at his home that night. He was taken to the Texas County Sheriff’s Department for questioning. After being read his Miranda rights, he requested an attorney.

Durbin was represented at trial and sentencing by Lacon Marie Smith, a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Lacon Marie Smith from Springfield. The State of Missouri was represented at trial by Acting Texas County Prosecuting Attorney Jason MacPherson and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James Weber.

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