After almost four years, Travis Burris must now begin serving two years of probation and 45 days behind bars.
This comes after the state court of criminal appeals upheld his 2005 sexual battery conviction following a trial.
Burris had appealed the jury’s verdict claiming there was not sufficient evidence to support he had committed the crime for his own gratification.
However, the presiding judge, Joseph M. Tipton held a different view.
Testimony from the victim and other prosecution witnesses had proven Burris committed the crime for his pleasure, Tipton said in his written opinion.
Burris stood accused of having inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor who was a guest in his home, the court record said.
The female, who was 13- years- old at the time, testified that Burris had entered the room where she was sleeping in May 2004. He then forcefully touched her in an inappropriate manner despite her attempts to stop him, the opinion recounted.
The incident was reported to police the following day by the girl and her mother.
LaFollette Police Captain Jack Widener testified at the trial that Burris’ initial statement was that “God had forgiven him and he hoped the family would, too.” He later admitted to touching the girl and her clothing.
Burris denied having improper feelings for the girl claiming he loved her as he would his own child, according to the court record.
At trial, Burris didn’t offer any evidence in the case to prove his innocence.
While he was acquitted of rape, the jury returned a guilty verdict for sexual battery.
On appeal, it was argued that there was a lack of evidence to substantiate Burris had acted in an attempt to gain gratification, the court record said. Burris asserted, in the appeal, at most he was guilty of assault.
When a motion for a new trial was argued at the local level by Michael Hatmaker, Burris’ attorney, it was denied.
Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton said the jury could have convicted Burris of either sexual battery or assault because proof existed to support a verdict being returned on either charge. The jury chose to convict Burris of the battery charge., Sexton said.
Regarding the appeal, Tipton said through his own admission it was revealed Burris touched the girl in an instance when there was an alternative.
He also spoke of forgiveness from God adding he hoped his family would follow suit.
Tipton ruled the evidence existed to prove Burris had acted for his own satisfaction.