GONZALES — A state district judge sentenced a Raceland man to two consecutive life terms after his September conviction in the rapes of two young girls.
Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr., of the 23rd Judicial District, handed down the sentence Monday at the Ascension Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales, prosecutors said this week.
An Ascension Parish jury found Edward “Tuffy” Caldwell, 51, 130 Williams St., Raceland, guilty of two counts of aggravated rape and one count of molestation of a juvenile Sept. 24 after 40 minutes of deliberation.
Caldwell had previously been convicted of carnal knowledge of a juvenile in the late 1990s when the victim was 14, but served that sentence and was released.
Aggravated rape brings a mandatory life sentence in Louisiana. Kliebert ordered that Caldwell serve the two life sentences consecutively and without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension.
“I feel that justice was served,” Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi said.
During the day-and-a-half trial, the girls testified that Caldwell began to abuse them when they were 6 to 8 years old and living in different parishes.
According to prosecutors, the girls testified the abuse worsened as they grew up. Caldwell started raping them when they turned 12.
Caldwell took the stand and disputed the allegations as a misunderstanding.
Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Caldwell on Jan. 14, 2014, after a complaint was made in July 2013 over abuse that dated back to February 2012, prosecutors said.
The 23rd Judicial District encompasses Ascension, Assumption and St. James parishes.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.