A Dawson County teenager convicted as an adult in a child molestation case received a life sentence with a mandatory 25 years to serve in prison, June 16.
Mitchell Lee Adams, who was 14 at the time of the incident, must then spend the rest of his life on probation, according to Dawson County Superior Court records.
Adams was found guilty in January of sexually assaulting a young family member.
Evidence presented during last week’s sentencing showed that the teen admitted to a defense-hired psychiatrist he had molested the victim.
Adams’ father, Michael Lanier Adams, also was accused of molesting the child, but was acquitted in February of all charges. The two cases were tried separately.
Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said his office gave the younger Adams several opportunities to have his case sent to juvenile court.
“The defense in this case declined an opportunity given by the district attorney’s office even after the jury verdict of guilty on aggravated child molestation,” said Darragh, adding that the plea would have given the judge discretion in the sentencing.
“Had the defense accepted that opportunity, Mitchell Adams could possibly have been sentenced to as little as five years on probation,” Darragh said. “The defendant chose instead to pursue legal arguments in appeal at a great risk to himself and his own future.
“Because he declined that opportunity, the court had no choice but to sentence ... under legislative-mandated sentencing for aggravated child molestation.”
Mitchell Adams will remain in a juvenile facility until he turns 17, at which time he will be transferred to a prison, Darragh said.
Several attempts to contact Adams’ attorney, Rafe Banks, III, have been unsuccessful.
Court documents showed that several family members, friends and acquaintances, including a jailer from the youth detention center where Adams is being held, testified on his behalf during the sentencing hearing.
E-mail Michele Hester at email@example.com.