A Conroe man will be serving out the rest of his life in prison after a Montgomery County jury convicted him of sexually abusing two girls younger than 10 for a period of years. Jose Edmundo Zepeda, 33, was found guilty of the first-degree felony offense of continuous sexual abuse of a child on Thursday by a Montgomery County jury in the 359th District Court.
On Friday, presiding Judge Kathleen Hamilton sentenced Zepeda to life. He will not be eligible for parole, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. “There is no place in this community or in any community for the Jose Zepedas of the world,” read a statement from District Attorney Brett Ligon. “People who abuse children deserve to be exactly where Zepeda is now heading — a prison cell. Forever.”
For three years starting in 2013, Zepeda sexually abused the 6 and 8-year-old girls.
After the girls in 2016 came forward about the abuse, they shared their experience with forensic investigators at the advocacy group Children’s Safe Harbor, the District Attorney’s Office detailed. Upon learning the girls reported the abuse, Zepeda fled the state before returning to Montgomery County. In 2019, he was arrested in Conroe for a DWI and drug possession and was held pending the trial on the sexual abuse charges, the DA’s Office added.
Testimony during trial was provided by the two girls, the case’s investigating Conroe Police Department detective and child abuse experts and therapists who have worked to help the victims recover, the District Attorney’s Office noted. Jurors deliberated a little more than an hour before returning with a guilty verdict, the DA’s Office mentioned.
The abuse “essentially destroyed their childhood, and continues to affect them today,” said prosecuting Assistant DA Wesley LeRouax in a statement, adding “these courageous girls received the justice they deserved” thanks to Conroe PD and the Children’s Safe Harbor. Fellow prosecuting Assistant DA Jacqueline Bello followed up.
“No childhood should be filled with the memories these girls now have, and while those memories cannot be completely erased, our fervent hope is that the verdict of the jury and the sentence by the court will allow the girls to finally feel supported, protected and vindicated,” read a statement from Bello.