A Madison man scheduled to stand trial for the second time for allegedly sodomizing his stepdaughter over a seven-year period accepted a plea bargain Monday that gave him time already served in jail and three years of unsupervised probation.
Kenneth Napoleon Osborne, 45, of 28581 Hardiman Road, pleaded guilty Monday to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and three counts of second-degree assault in exchange for a sentence of 10 years in prison. But that sentenced was split so that he received time already served of 1,057 days.
The plea agreement allows Osborne to be on unsupervised probation. And although he will have to register as a convicted sex offender, he can travel without the court's permission or the prospect of reporting to a probation officer.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said the plea offer was made for two reasons — because there were 139 cases already on the trial docket for the week and because there was a "due process" issue with Osborne being jailed so long. He said the plea was not offered because the DA's office feared a second hung jury in the case.
He also said he believed the sentence was adequate, largely because Osborne already served nearly three years, because he will have to register as a sex offender no matter where he lives and report to authorities for the rest of his life, and because he won't be in Alabama.
"Tomorrow, he will be in Florida and he won't be here in Limestone County," Jones added.
On Tuesday, Osborne was heading from the Limestone County Jail to catch a bus to Miami, were his mother lives in a nursing home, Jones said.
Osborne would have faced a tougher sentence if tried and convicted on his original charges of three counts of first-degree sodomy and three counts of first-degree sexual abuse, records show. Under Alabama law, first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sodomy are Class A felonies that carry sentences of 10 years to life in prison.
However, Osborne’s first trial last September on three counts of first-degree sodomy ended in a hung jury. Jones had vowed at the time to retry him, saying, “We are gong to put the notes back in the folder, learn from our mistakes and retry him. We are not going to win every case, but we are going to fight tooth and nail for the victim.”
However, he also said at the time that the case was a difficult one because there was no physical evidence or medical evidence; because there was no eyewitness other than the victim; because the alleged abuse occurred over a period of seven years; and because there was a three-year lapse between when the alleged abuse ended and when it was reported and a two-year lapse between Osborne’s arrest and trial.
“It was tough — it was his word versus hers,” Jones said at the time. “But, that little girl — for the first time in 11 years — was able to stand up and say he did this to me. She got her day in court.”
The district attorney brought the case before a grand jury a second time in December 2011 and obtained an indictment allowing him to retry the case. This time, Osborne was facing three additional charges of first-degree sexual abuse in addition to the three counts of sodomy.
Under the agreement accepted by Osborne's defense attorneys, Doug Patterson and Dan Totten, and the court, Osborne pleaded guity to the three counts of sexual abuse as well as the three counts of assault in connection with attacks on county jailers while he was incarcerated.
Osborne was initially charged after the victim told a friend that she had been abused and the friend told her mother, Jones said. The friend’s mother told a schoolteacher about the alleged incident, and the teacher reported the allegation to the Department of Human Resources, he said. DHR reported it to sheriff’s investigators, who arrested Osborne on one count of sodomy Oct. 19 and on two counts of sodomy on Oct. 20, 2009.
Under Alabama law, first-degree sodomy involves one of the following: 1.) forcing or compelling another person to perform deviate sexual intercourse; 2.) engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consent due to physical helplessness or mental incapacity or; 3.) being at least 16 years old and engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with someone under age 12.