A life sentence has been handed to a former Odessa resident and foster parent on charges of statutory rape of a 13-year-old. Joseph Sprofera, 46, was found guilty by a Clay County jury in early August. He was already serving a seven year sentence in the case of his first victim and will appear in court in December for proceedings related to a third victim. According to the Lafayette County Prosecutor, the verdict from this latest case is in the early stages of the appeals process.
Joseph Sprofera, 46, a former Odessa resident and foster parent, received a life sentence on September 27th, for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old child. Sprofera was found guilty by a jury on August 7, 2012, in a Clay County court following his request for a change of venue. The trial represented the second time that Sprofera has been convicted of statutory rape. Sprofera was serving a seven-year sentence from this first trail at the time of his second trial; however, the jury was not allowed to hear testimony regarding his prior conviction or trial. After presenting the victim’s testimony at sentencing, Lafayette County Prosecutor Kellie Wingate Campbell told the court that the case warranted a life sentence in light of the extensive history of sexual abuse perpetuated by the defendant against multiple children.
Campbell has tried two cases against Sprofera in the past two years and is scheduled to take a third victim’s case to trial on December 10th. Sprofera also faces a possible life sentence in the third case. The three victims had contact with Sprofera as children while residing in Lafayette County several years ago. Each guilty verdict is subject to review by higher appellate courts. Sprofera’s first conviction was affirmed earlier this year following a two-year appeal process. The August conviction is currently in the early stages of appeal. With regard to pending cases, all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.