Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Sonia F. Hagood announced a Greene County jury convicted Santiago Vasquez of 5 counts of rape. On Friday, February 9, Circuit Judge Randy Philhours followed the recommendation of the jury and imposed a 40-year imprisonment term for each count, with two counts to run consecutive, sending Vasquez away for an effective 80 years. Elected Prosecuting Attorney, Sonia F. Hagood and Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Adam Butler and Wesley Watts prosecuted the case.
“This verdict should send a message, once again, that we will never stop fighting to protect the children of Greene County and the entire Second Judicial District”, said Hagood.
Originating from Vasquez’s arrest in 2019 by the Paragould Police Department, this case exemplifies the necessity of meticulous investigations and cross-jurisdictional cooperation. “The bravery displayed by the victim in disclosing the abuse she endured speaks volumes, and this verdict is a direct result of her courage.” Said Deputy Prosecutor Adam Butler.
Vasquez was previously found guilty by a jury for the same offense in 2021. The Arkansas Court of Appeals reversed the case due to a technical error and remanded it for a new trial. “Justice may have been delayed in this case, but in the end it was not denied.” Said Butler.
“While the duration of five years to bring this case to a close is regrettable, its resolution stands as a testament to unwavering perseverance and dedication to seeking justice for victims of child sexual abuse.” Said Hagood.
Hagood added, “I want to thank our law enforcement partners, especially Captain Rhonda Thomas and the Paragould Police Department for their investigation and support during this trial. Their commitment to upholding the law and seeking justice for victims of child sexual abuse is commendable.
Lastly, I want to thank the jurors who sat through heartbreaking testimony and evidence. Cases like this are extremely emotional, and I want them to know how much we appreciate their service.”
I am very proud of Captain Rhonda Thomas for her hard work, dedication, and commitment to this case to see it to the end. This case was assigned to her in 2019 when she and I were with the Paragould Police Department. Captain Thomas has remained vigilant during this case, no matter the bumps in the road that appeared. Her dedication to protecting our children of Greene County is unmatched, as are her investigative skills in cases such as these. I am so very thankful to have her on our team.
- Sheriff Brad Snyder