Crime

Coast girl who survived sexual assault to attacker: ‘I conquered and overcame’

Tommie Shannon
Tommie Shannon Harrison County Adult Detention Center

A female minor who lived in fear for three years wrote her attacker when he was sentenced this week in Circuit Court to say that she has overcome what he did to her.

Tommie Shannon, 55, will serve 25 years in prison without benefit of parole, Circuit Court Judge Christopher Schmidt decided.

Gulfport police arrested Shannon in May 2015, after the assault survivor’s mother found out that Shannon had attacked her daughter the previous evening, a news release from the district attorney’s office says.

Shannon confessed to the crime during a subsequent interview with Gulfport police Detective Frank Mazzola.

At the sentencing hearing, Assistant District Attorney Patti Simpson read from a letter the survivor wrote: “You broke my trust and assaulted me. . . . But I am still standing and I’m here to let you know I conquered and overcame.”

The news release quoted Schmidt as saying: “[I] can’t comprehend how someone could do this to a minor, at least someone with a moral compass. It’s incomprehensible to me.”

When he is released from prison, Shannon must register for life as a sex offender.

“Hopefully the sentence handed down by the Court will assist in the healing process and ensure the defendant is no longer able to harm other minors,” District Attorney Joel Smith said in the news release.

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