A Glascock County jury deliberated for approximately 20 minutes and found Matthew Lee Kirkland guilty of child molestation after a two-day trial that ended May 21.
Following the verdict, Superior Court Judge Britt Hammond sentenced Kirkland, 32, to 25 years in prison and he will then serve the remainder of his life on probation.
Kirkland, of the 3800 block of Mike Padgett Hwy. in Augusta, was tried in Glascock County Superior Court May 20-21 for child molestation of a female under 16 in Glascock County.
According to Glascock County Sheriff Jeremy Kelley, his office received a complaint on April 18, 2018, about Kirkland having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female under the age of 16. Glascock County issued a child molestation warrant for Kirkland’s arrest and he was picked up on May 30, 2018 by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. He was then transported to the McDuffie County jail.
The jury returned guilty verdict May 21 for aggravated sexual battery, for two counts of statutory rape, and for two counts of child molestation. He was indicted by a Glascock County Grand Jury on Aug. 20 2018 on the five sexual offenses.
Melissa Bray and Danny Durham of the Durham Law Firm in Augusta defended Kirkland in the case and Toombs Judicial Circuit Senior Assistant District Attorney Debra Neumann prosecuted Kirkland with District Attorney William “Bill” Doupe´assisting.
“This type of case is very difficult to investigate, prosecute and deliberate upon. We commend Sheriff Kelley for his thorough and complete investigation of this matter. Sheriff Kelley provided us with the necessary evidence to take this case to trial,” the district attorney said.
“We thank the jury for their diligence in listening to the difficult and disturbing evidence brought out in court and in returning a verdict that speaks the truth.”
Doupe´ also said the Child Advocacy Center, located in Thomson, is beneficial to the judicial circuit. The center is a place a victim can be interviewed in totality and not have to be questioned by multiple agencies for the same answers, receive the services needed, and move on in life and achieve goals.
“We also thank and commend the victim and her family who patiently waited for justice and trusted the judicial system,” Doupe´said.