A Stevinson man convicted earlier this year on multiple counts of sexually assaulting two children was sentenced to spend more than a century behind bars.
Robert Lee Howard, 76, was given the maximum sentence of 105 years by a Merced County Superior Court judge for his conviction.
On Sept. 29, a Merced County jury found Howard guilty of forcible rape, oral copulation, sexual penetrations and seven counts of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 years, according to court records.
During the weeklong trial both of Howard’s victims took the stand to testify against him. The first victim, now an adult, said the molestation began in 1996, when she was five years old, and ended in 1999. The second victim testified her abuse also began when she was five years old in 2005, and ended in 2008.
In addition to their testimony, the prosecution had recordings of Howard talking to one of the victims. According to the court records, Howard apologized to the girl, but blamed his actions on “human nature.”
Both victims were related to Howard. The abuse occurred at his Stevinson home.