A Dadeville man was found guilty of sexual abuse of a child under 12 and enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes.
The child victim identified Joshua Ammons as the person who touched her “private parts” after encouraging her to a bedroom. Ammons now faces between 10 and 99 years in prison.
Ammons behavior on the stand in front of a jury didn’t help his cause. In the absence of the juror over a period of two plus hours Ammons would argue with his attorney and Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steve Perryman. Ammon’s hostile behavior would continue as he would accept and fail to go through four different attempts at a plea deal.
Ammons, 30, of Dadeville took to the stand in his own defense and was being confronted by Fifth Judical Circuit District Attorney Jeremy Duerr about his prior conviction of violation of the sex offender registration act.
“I object,” Ammons said from the witness stand. “My attorney is not giving me adequate representation.”
Perryman quickly excused the jury to the jury room and quickly explained to Ammons it was the improper venue to challenge the effectiveness of his counsel.
Ammons was upset prosecutors were bringing up his past — a guilty plea to sexual misconduct after being charged with first-degree rape and sodomy of a child. It was done in 2013 to try and protect the child from having to testify. Ammons would serve a year in prison and have to register as a sex offender on release. Ammons would also serve a year in prison for failing to register as a sex offender.
On Monday, deputies had to pick up Ammons for trial when he didn’t come to the Tallapoosa County Courthouse in Dadeville. Ammons tried to use the excuse of inadequate preparation as an excuse Tuesday from the witness stand with Perryman.
“You didn’t give me enough time,” Ammons told Perryman.
Perryman didn’t care much for Ammons argument.
“I let them take you home to change clothes into something more appropriate,” Perryman said. “You’ve had three years to get ready. Today is your day of reckoning.”
Ammons’ attorney Gaines Harrell told Perryman it had been extremely difficult to communicate with Ammons as Ammons failed to keep him up to date with phone number and address changes.
“I told you to give me good phone numbers,” Harrell said. “I told you to be here on your court dates. I told you your court dates.”
Ammons reiterated he wasn’t being adequately represented because Harrell put him on the stand and didn’t object to Duerr’s line of questions. Perryman told Ammons that argument could only be made if he was convicted.
“Were you forced to testify?” Perryman asked Ammons.
Ammons responded, “No.”
Duerr offered to stop the trial if Ammons would plead guilty and accept 18 years in prison.
Ammons contemplated the offer four different times while the jury was excused.
Four times Ammons refused to say what he did. Four times Perryman said he couldn’t accept Ammons plea.
“An argument with your attorney in front of the jury will not suit you well,” Perryman said. “I did not force you to take the stand. The choice was yours. From what I have seen [Tuesday], you are your biggest enemy.”
Ammons reasoning for taking the stand was to let the jury know his side of the story.
“The two girls made it up,” Ammons testified. “There was animosity.”
Ammons said the animosity stemmed from an issue with water bills he was paying for.
During closing arguments chief assistant district attorney Mike Weldon at first joked with the jury.
“We need to send you back again,” Weldon quipped.
Someone in the jury had a quick response.
“It’s everyone else that needs to go back,” a juror said.
It would take the jury less than an hour to convict Ammons of sexual abuse of a child under 12 and enticing a child. With his prior convictions, Perryman can sentence Ammons to between 10 and 99 years in prison and since the victim was under 12, there would be no parole or early release for “good time.”
Perryman will sentence Ammons next month.