A Mississippi man was found guilty Thursday night (Oct. 5) of molesting two Jefferson Parish girls during a 45-day period in 2015.
Billy Joe Howard, 33, of Kiln, was convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13.
The victims were ages 11 and 7 when the abuse occurred. Howard encountered the children after meeting their mothers through a dating website, in one case only a week before he molested the child, according to evidence presented to the jury.
He committed the sexual battery of the 11-year-old girl in July 2015, and he committed indecent behavior the following month with the 7-year-old girl.
The victims’ mothers were notified, leading to criminal investigations by the Westwego Police Department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Howard gained his release from custody after posting bond. While awaiting trial, he was accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl in Hancock County, Miss., according to evidence presented during the trial.
The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated just over an hour before returning with its unanimous verdicts at 7:45 p.m. Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Howard on Thursday (Oct. 12).
Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.