A Gulf County man found guilty of sexually molesting a child under age 12 has been sentenced to life in prison.
Joseph Weldon Davis, 48, of Wewahitchka, was sentenced Friday after being found guilty Nov. 30 of lewd or lascivious molestation. Circuit Court Judge Devin Collier ordered the maximum sentence and designated the defendant as a sexual predator.
“This sentence sends a strong message that crimes against children will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Gulf County Chief Prosecutor Tracy Smith.
Smith called witnesses and presented evidence proving the defendant sexually molested a child during a five-month period in 2020 and 2021. The investigation that led to the defendant’s arrest March 9, 2021 was conducted by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith called 10 witnesses to the stand, including the victim. She also successfully argued that jurors should hear the testimony of two other females who said they were victims of similar acts by the defendant when they were juveniles.
The six-person jury took about 90 minutes to find the defendant guilty of the charge. The verdict carried a minimum-mandatory 25-year sentence but the defendant received the maximum life sentence.
Larry Basford, state attorney for the 14th Judicial Circuit, thanked the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office and the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for their work on the case and helping gather the evidence needed for a conviction.
For more information, contact Mike Cazalas at email@example.com, or call 850-381-7454.