News

35-year prison term for child sex

Arson, burglary linked to suspect


Griffith Griffith A 23-year-old Thorndale man pleaded guilty to enhanced sexual assault of a child last week in 20th District Court and was assessed a 35-year prison term by Judge John Youngblood.

John Graves Redington, assistant prosecutor, said Herman Miller Griffith was also linked to an arson-burglary that destroyed a Milano-area house on Jan. 7, 2013.

That blaze levelled a home owned by the Steve Howard family of Houston, used as a weekend residence on County Road 346.

“Everything was lost and some of the items were priceless to the family,” Redington said. “Mr. Howard’s father died in Vietnam when he was 10 and there were Vietnam Era mementos in the house.”

PRINTS—Investigators from the Milam County Sheriff’s Department got their big break in the case when a recreational vehicle, taken from the residence, was found, partially burned in a Williamson County field.

“Investigators were able to get Mr. Griffith’s fingerprints off the vehicle,” Redington said. “By this time he was in a Williamson County jail on an unrelated charge.”

Redington said Griffith confessed to the arson and also the burglary of the residence, which resulted in the loss of “thousands of dollars of equipment, personal property, family herlooms and mememtoes.”

“Two juvenile accomplices were also involved, one of whom was a neighbor of the victim,” he said.

Redington said the juveniles were adjudicated through juvenile court and were ordered to pay the $160,000 value of the home and properties.

PREGNANCY—Redington said, during the same time period as the arson and burglary investigation, a 15-year-old high school freshman accused Griffith of being the father of her unborn baby.

“Through the arson-burglary investigation we were able to place him in the area at the appropriate time,” Redington said.

A subsequent paternity test confirmed the teen’s accusation, he said.

Redington said prosecutors elected to charge Griffith with sexual assault of a child, rather than the arson and burglary.

“Because he was already on parole, the sexual assault of a child charge is a first-degree felony and is enhanced,” he said.

Redington said the court “considered” the unadjudicated arson and burglary charges.

The case was investigated by representatives of the Milam County Sheriff’s Department, Milam District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers.


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2014-04-10 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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