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Punishment phase underway in toddler rape case

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Lucas Coe is accused of sexually and physically abusing his girlfriends 4-year-old daughter, who later died of her injuries.

Lucas Coe is back in court for the punishment phase of his trial. A jury Tuesday found him guilty of super aggravated sexual assault against a four-year-old girl.

Today is day one of two in the punishment phase for Lucas Coe after Tuesday's conviction. Prosecutors and law enforcement are trying to establish the criminal history of Coe. He has been arrested for several minor offenses, for some of which he did receive probation or limited jail time.

Coe faces 25 to 99 years in prison for abuse and death of four-year-old Emma Thompson.

Today, the jury also heard more testimony. The 10-year-old son of another of Coe's ex-girlfriends testified that Coe would wake him up in the middle of the night punching and choking him. On one occasion, the boy says he woke up in the bathtub, being cleaned up by Coe and his mother. The boy was hospitalized for 11 days after that incident.

Coe's attorneys say, despite the testimony, they hope he will receive a punishment closer to the 25 year mark, rather than life in prison.

"We've got to keep in mind this is not a homicide," said Coe's attorney, William Van Buren.

The reason prosecutors went for the super aggravated charge is so there is no possibility of parole for Coe, regardless of the length of his sentencing.

Emma Thompson's mother, Abigail Young, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for failing to protect her daughter from Coe.

On Thursday, we're expect to see the emotional side of the case when the victims' impact statements are read. Then the jury that convicted him will again go behind closed doors to decide Coe's fate.

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