A jury of nine women and three men unanimously agreed to declare a Mexico, Mo. man guilty on July 25 for sodomizing, molesting, and abusing a child less than 7 years old in 2011-2012.
Dayton Eugene Durham, age 36, heard the guilty just one hour after deliberation.
He was found guilty of two counts of statutory sodomy, child molestation, enticement of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Durham, who will be sentenced by Circuit Judge Wesley C. Dalton on September 16, faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum term of more than 112 years imprisonment.
Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger and former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, now Assistant Attorney General Ashley Turner, tried the case July 25 to an Audrain County jury of nine women and three men.
“Dayton Durham took advantage of his trust and access to a beautiful vibrant young girl and used her for his own perverted ends,” Shellabarger said. “He took no responsibility and showed no remorse in committing these acts, and his actions divided a family and put a young girl in a position where she felt her whole world depended on keeping silent about what Dayton Durham did to her. Most of us can’t imagine that kind of mental and physical pain and pressure that places on a child, and how damaging it can be. Thanks to this jury’s verdict, this young girl can learn, grow, play, laugh and be a kid again without carrying the crushing burden of the secret shame she carried thanks to Dayton Durham. This jury delivered a firm, powerful message that when children are hurt in our community, our community will hold the guilty accountable, protect the innocent and ensure a fair trial. This case was difficult for jurors to listen to evidence of sexual abuse to a young child, but I commend them for the focus, attention and resolve in seeing the case through. Our multi-disciplinary team approach to child abuse and sexual abuse cases works. This case brought together the Mexico Public Safety Department, the Audrain County Juvenile Office, Missouri Children’s Division, the Rainbow House Regional Child Advocacy Center and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to find the truth in this case. Rainbow House, a safe place for children to be interviewed about their experiences, helped her find her way to tell the truth about what happened to her by treating her as a child and speaking to her in ways she can understand. By working together, we avoid asking the child to re-tell and relive the experience multiple times. I am also especially proud of the exceptional work of Mexico Public Safety, who invested countless hours to making sure justice was done for this child.”
Durham will be sentenced September 16, 2016 at 9 a.m. at the Audrain County Courthouse.