Abilene man sentenced to life for sexually abusing 2 girls

Howard Dee Sturgis

ABILENE, Texas - UPDATE: Howard Dee Sturgis of Abilene was found guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child Thursday.

The jurors returned the verdict at about 4:35 p.m. before starting deliberation on a punishment. It didn't take long for the jury to determine Sturgis' sentence: life in prison.

Sturgis will not be eligible for parole due to the continuous aspect of the abuse.

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Both sides have rested in the trial of an Abilene man accused of the continuous sexual abuse of two young girls.

Howard Dee Sturgis, 56, is on trial on the first-degree felony charge.

Sturgis, before the jury was brought into the courtroom Thursday, said he didn't want to take the stand.

Judge Lee Hamilton was preparing the charges to be submitted to the jury.

On Wednesday, Sturgis' co-defendant Chelsea Diaz pleaded guilty to continuous sexual abuse of a child. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison as part of a plea deal. The abuse, according to documents, occurred between January 2015 and April of this year.

Also Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from a se xual assault nurse coordinator.

The coordinator learned of the horrific abuse from a victim first-hand and that the victim was quiet at first, but ultimately revealed Sturgis would force them to watch obscene videos and sexually abused them.

KTXS will provide additional details as they become available.

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