MOULTRIE — A Colquitt County jury Tuesday found a Doerun man guilty of sodomizing his granddaughter and his niece over the course of several years, exposing them at a young age to pornography and drugs and using threats to bend them to his will.

Lloyd Paul Jr., 57, 508 W. Broad St., was convicted of two counts aggravated child molestation, child molestation and aggravated sodomy. The jury found him not guilty, however, on one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The jury, comprised of six men and five women and reduced to 11 due to one juror falling ill, took scarcely more than 40 minutes to deliberate. After the verdict was read, Superior Court Judge Richard Cowart held over sentencing to March 22.

Evidence in the trial was almost exclusively testimonial. No physical evidence was found in the home. The prosecution used no medical reports. The case boiled down to who the jury believed — the girls or Paul.

The girls — now 19 and 16 — said Paul began making advances toward them when they were much younger — one 12, the other 9 — and the sexual abuse escalated to sodomy, oral and, for the youngest, anal. They were explicit in their account of the prolonged abuse. The girls, now older and more empowered, were resolute and at times angry during questioning.

The defendant, however, didn’t take the stand. The only witness in his defense was the older victim’s stepfather, who lived in Paul’s house for a few years and said he didn’t have any suspicions about Paul. The stepfather explained he was at work quite a bit.

Former Investigator J.J. McMillan, now chief magistrate judge, testified that holes discovered in the house and introduced in earlier testimony didn’t appear to be used for spying on the girls. Assistant District Attorney Brian McDaniel stressed that peephole or not the girls believed Paul was watching them through those holes and lived in fear of him.

The prosecution rounded out its case with testimony from the investigators and a taped conversation between the offender and his wife while he was in jail that investigators said showed he asked his wife to get the girls to change their stories.

Testimony also said the 16-year-old had told her grandmother about the abuse years ago, but she didn’t believe her.

In closing arguments, Valdosta defense attorney Terry Schwock told the jury that the girls were conspiring to fabricate lies about Paul. They waffled on their testimony and were hostile at the defense attorney’s cross examination, he pointed out.

McDaniel, on the other hand, said the girls had no reason to ruin Paul’s life with lies nor did they have reason to subject themselves to such a revealing ordeal as a molestation trial. Confusion doesn’t make a liar, McDaniel said.

“This is her as a child talking about her grandfather — what his semen smelled and tasted like,” the prosecutor implored.

At one point, the younger victim’s father was overcome by emotion and left the courtroom crying. Paul, himself, fidgeted throughout the trial and was clearly affected when testimonial evidence of the sexual abuse was laid out in detail.

Schwock was allowed to read a letter in closing arguments that wasn’t tendered into evidence, although discussed in testimony. The younger victim had written a letter to Paul after his arrest, telling him that she missed him, loved him and was sorry he had to go through the allegations. McDaniel said given the warped bond between the younger girl and “the only grandfather she’s ever known,” her compassion for Paul was not beyond reason.

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