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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Jury convicts Missouri man in Jessica's Law case

  • A Leavenworth County jury convicted a Missouri man Wednesday of raping a 13-year-old girl, the penalty for which could send him to prison for life.
    Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson announced David Cochran's conviction via a news release Thursday morning. 
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  • A Leavenworth County jury convicted a Missouri man Wednesday of raping a 13-year-old girl, the penalty for which could send the offender to prison for life.
    Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson announced David Cochran's conviction via a news release Thursday morning.
    A jury trial in Leavenworth County District Court began Monday and ended Wednesday night, after the jury returned its verdict following 90 minutes of deliberation.
    Leavenworth County Assistant Attorney Cheryl Marquardt handled the case for the state.
    Cochran, 29, who was represented by defense attorney Sarah Swain, was free on bond pending trial. He was taken into custody and booked into Leavenworth County Jail on Wednesday night.
    Sentencing is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 18 in District Court.
    "This is a Jessica's Law case and the sentence is likely to be life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years," Thompson stated in the release.
    The case against Cochran stems from an incident Aug. 27, 2012, Thompson reported.
    Cochran, of Peculiar, Mo., came into Leavenworth and picked up the 13-year-old girl at 2 a.m. on a street near the child's mother's home, the county attorney stated.
    He then drove the child to a Leavenworth motel, according to the release, and took the girl back home at 5 a.m.
    "The following night, the child's mother observed text messages on the child's cell phone regarding the plan for Cochran to pick up the child in the middle of the night," Thompson reported in the release.
    "The mother took the child's cell phone to the Leavenworth Police Department and an investigation was conducted."
    Cochran, according to the release, was a longtime friend and business associate of a relative of the victim.
    After the police investigation established sexual abuse had occurred, Cochran was arrested in Missouri and extradited to Kansas.
    Jessica's Law is an informal name to a law adopted in several states, including Kansas in 2006, imposing 25-year prison sentences on first-time sexual offenders who prey on children.
    It is modeled after a Florida law and named for a 9-year-old girl who was killed by a convicted offender.
    The victim and her mother testified during the trial, and have been "invested and cooperative and active in this prosecution," Marquardt said Thursday.
    The prosecutor said the victim or her family could choose to address the court at sentencing, though that decision hasn't been made.
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