TEXARKANA -- Two brothers from Fouke were each convicted of one count of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday by a jury in Miller County.
Joseph Lynn Baker, 23, and Joshua Oneal Baker, 22, were each found guilty of one count of rape and acquitted of a second count. Both must now register as sex offenders.
Joseph Baker and Joshua Baker testified Wednesday under questioning by Texarkana lawyer Jake Potter and denied any wrongdoing.
The brothers admitted to bullying the victim, who is now 19, but denied a sexual component. The victim testified that he was sexually abused by the brothers separately from age 12 to age 15. While the brothers were juveniles at the time of some of the alleged sexual misconduct, they were adults by the time it stopped.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell addressed the state's lack of physical evidence in her closing argument.
"Unfortunately with these kinds of cases there is not a lot of detective work to do," Mitchell said.
When a victim makes a delayed outcry juries are often tasked with deciding a case based solely on witness testimony.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney David Cotton grilled the brothers about inconsistencies between statements they gave to a Miller County detective and their testimonies during the trial.
Witnesses testified during the trial that the victim had become involved in a church community that his girlfriend introduced him to and was baptized in early July 2019. The victim said the sexual abuse loomed large in his mind as he considered the church's teachings.
Early on the morning of July 16, 2019, the victim disclosed the sexual abuse to his girlfriend who encouraged him to tell his mother. A short time later the same morning, the victim went to his mother's workplace and told her about the abuse. The mother immediately contacted the Miller County sheriff's office, and an investigation was launched. The brothers were taken into custody Wednesday evening.
"This was a difficult and emotionally charged case due to the relationships and dynamics between the parties," Mitchell said. "I am very grateful to the jury for their verdict. I hope that the victim and his family can begin to heal."