HOUMA, La. — A Louisiana man found guilty of impregnating the 11-year-old child of his ex-girlfriend will spend the rest of his life in prison.
State District Court Judge George Larke sentenced 27-year-old Joseph Riney Friday to mandatory life in prison without benefits, prosecutor Bud Barnes said.
Riney was convicted of aggravated rape Nov. 5 following a two-day trial that involved DNA evidence of Riney’s paternity. Riney was about 37 million times more likely to be the boy’s father than any other man in the black community, a State Police Crime Lab analyst testified. The baby had half of Riney’s DNA and the other half belonged to the girl.
Aggravated rape refers to the rape of a victim under age 13, among other factors, according to state law. A conviction prohibits the possibility of probation or parole.
Riney was arrested Jan. 22, 2014, following accusations that he forced the now 13-year-old child to have sex with him multiple times at her home in Houma until she turned 11. The repeated abuse resulted in the child’s pregnancy, and medical records show that she was about five months along at the time of Riney’s arrest.
Shortly afterward, the girl gave birth to a baby son who she gave up for adoption.
The 13-year-old girl is now a student a local middle school.
Defense counsel Heather Fairchild represented Riney. Throughout the trial, Fairchild questioned the validity of Riney’s DNA evidence, the thoroughness of the police investigation and the consistency of the girl’s statement in her arguments.