Friday, December 2, 2011 | 1:12 PM
DOUBLE SPRINGS -- Jason Tyrone Hanner (age 33) of 221 Goddard Road, Bear Creek, was convicted in the Circuit Court of Winston County of the offense of Rape in the Second Degree. The verdict came at the end of a one-day jury trial before Circuit Judge Lee Carter. Jury deliberations lasted approximately sixteen (16) minutes.
The testimony during the trial showed that Hanner met a then 15-year-old female through the child's family. On November 10, 2010, while staying overnight in the child's home, Hanner engaged in sexual intercourse with the child. At the time, Hanner was 32 years of age. Testimony further revealed that on a prior occasion Hanner had touched the child's genital area with his hand.
Hanner gave a statement to Lt. Tim Steien of the Haleyville Police Department on November 19, 2010. In his statement, Hanner admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old child; however, he claimed that the child told him that she was 16 years of age. During the trial, Hanner testified that the child had told him she was 17 years of age. The child testified that she had told him her true age of 15.
Hanner was ordered into immediate custody following the jury's verdict and was not allowed release on bond pending his sentencing. The sentencing for Hanner was postponed until a pre-sentence investigation has been conducted. Hanner faces a possible sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Neal Cook, who prosecuted Hanner, had the following comments following the jury’s verdict:
"The jury who heard this case took its oath very seriously and followed the law. Judge Carter instructed the jury that mistaken belief as to a victim's age is no defense to the offense of rape and consent of a child less than 16 years of age is also no defense to this charge. He further instructed the jury that in Alabama a person is deemed incapable of consent to a sex act if he or she is less than 16 years old. The jury in this case listened to and correctly applied the law."
"I commend the victim in this case for her courage in taking the witness stand and confronting the man who took advantage of her youth. I also commend Lt. Steien for his obtaining the statement from Mr. Hanner."
"I implore all of our parents to be very vigilant in knowing who your children are involved with and to be alert to any signs that they are being taken advantage of by those who prey on our youth. The vast age difference in this case should have immediately raised a red flag. I hope that in the wake of the events involving Penn State University that parents or guardians will be more attuned to the risks our children face."