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Man sentenced for four counts of child molestation

A 75-year-old man was found guilty Wednesday at Troup County Superior Court on four counts of child molestation. John William Maner, of Biloxi, Mississippi, was sentenced 20 years to serve 15 in prison.

According to a press release from the Coweta Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s office, Maner made sexual advances toward his then 12-year-old grandniece between September 2005 and September 2008. On Aug. 13, 2010, Maner also victimized another juvenile grandniece by kissing her and inappropriately touching her, according to the press release.

The district attorney’s office also presented evidence that Maner made advances toward his then 8-year-old sister, who is now in her 60s. Evidence was also presented that Maner inappropriately touched a 9-year-old juvenile from Florida, according to the press release. 

According to the press release, the trial was originally scheduled for August of 2012, but Maner fled before it began. According to the press release, Maner was found in Kingsport, Tennessee, in September of 2017. He was arrested for failure to appear superior, according to Troup County Jail arrest/ release reports.

The jury deliberated for 11 minutes, according to assistant district attorney Drew Case. 

“The sentence reflects a fair verdict and the strength of the victims to come forward after this much time,” assistant district attorney Lara Myer said. “There was a lot of delay. It really shows how strong they are and how brave they are to come and face him and hold him accountable for what he did.”

The district attorney’s office also thanked the LaGrange Police Department for its “thorough investigation.”

“Cases of this nature are never easy,” Case said. “They’re difficult to deal with, but the victims came, they faced their accuser, and we felt justice was served in this case.”

A call to Maner’s attorney, James Strickland, was not returned Thursday.