BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man convicted of raping a child, but has been allowed to be free until sentencing, will have more time out of jail before learning his ultimate fate.
Earl Coleman, 49, was convicted in April of raping an 8-year-old girl. Judge Trudy White allowed Coleman to walk free on a post-conviction bond until his sentencing hearing, which was set for Thursday, to care of his sick mother.
During the hearing, the defense repeatedly attempted to discredit the trial testimony of the 8-year-old victim. At one point, the defense told Judge White she was the 13th juror and the decision to grant Coleman a retrial and not send him to prison for life was, "solely at her discretion."
Judge White denied that motion for a retrial, but granted the motion for a sentencing delay. She then set a new sentencing date for August 9.
The victim and her mother were in court for the sentencing hearing. "It's been a long journey. It's been hard. We've had our ups and downs. I've had my near breakdowns. I've shed a lot of tears. I've prayed a lot and I have a strong will to get her through this and just to see justice at the end," said the victim's mother.
After his conviction, Coleman requested to be released on bond until sentencing. Prosecutors asked White to set the bond at $500,000, but she set it at $10,000 instead.
Coleman posted bond and has been living down the street from where his victim lives while free.
The victim's mother also stressed the importance of parents building strong relationships with their children.
"Please, talk to your kids and love them. Just sit down, even if it's no more than just sitting there with them. Give them just a little time and they may come around and tell you something. We never know what our kids are thinking," she said.