Crime

Will judge reconsider stiff sentence in Hancock student sex case?

Jim Davis and Leslie Dewitt receive the jury's verdict to conclude a trial in Bay St. Louis, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Dewitt was found guilty of two counts of unlawful touching of a child for lustful purposes. Dewitt was also found not guilty of two counts of sexual battery.
Jim Davis and Leslie Dewitt receive the jury's verdict to conclude a trial in Bay St. Louis, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Dewitt was found guilty of two counts of unlawful touching of a child for lustful purposes. Dewitt was also found not guilty of two counts of sexual battery. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

Former Hancock High School teacher and coach Leslie Danielle Dewitt is looking at 30 years in prison, until she’s 64. She is eligible for possible release on teen sex convictions Oct. 10, 2046.

But she hopes it won’t happen that way.

Her attorney, Jim Davis, argued a motion to reconsider Monday, asking Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois to give the 34-year-old wife and mother a new trial, an appeal bond or a lower sentence.

Prosecutors argued against it, Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker said.

“It’s standard procedure,” Parker said of the motion.

Bourgeois will give his decision on Tuesday, he said.

The motion hearing was held in Harrison County Circuit Court, where Bourgeois is on the bench this week.

Bourgeois on Oct. 17 imposed the maximum 15-year prison term on two counts of touching of a child — a female student at Hancock. He ordered the prison terms to run consecutively for a total of 30 years.

Under state law, her prison term must be served day for day.

A Hancock County jury convicted Dewitt on the two counts of unlawful touching, but found her not guilty on charges of sexual battery, which carries a stiffer penalty.

Davis has told the Sun Herald he felt the sentence was too harsh.

At her sentencing, Bourgeois said her position as a teacher and her failure to show remorse or guilt were his two main reasons for imposing the maximum penalty.

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