Miss. trooper acquitted of 5 sex charges

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 7, 2010

VICKSBURG (AP) — A Mississippi state trooper accused of sex crimes against two teenage boys has been acquitted on five charges, four of which carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Warren County Judge Isadore Patrick declared a mistrial on four counts of fondling, which carry a maximum sentence of 15 years each.

‘‘I just pray that we can get all this behind us, and everybody can move on with their lives,’’ said Dane Davenport, 47. He has been a state trooper since 1987, and has been on unpaid administrative leave since his arrest in January 2008.

The jury acquitted him on four counts of sexual battery of a child under 14, which carry up to life in prison, and on one of fondling a child under 16.

This was Davenport’s second trial. An Oktibbeha County jury acquitted him in February on one charge of child molestation.

The boys testified that Davenport had raped and molested them over a period of eight years. Their families and friends heard the verdict in silence, and Patrick asked them to leave in an orderly manner.

State Attorney General Jim Hood said prosecutors had not decided whether to try Davenport again.

‘‘We will have to talk to the victims and review our options before deciding what our next step will be,’’ he said in a statement released by a spokesman.

His office prosecuted the case because Davenport is a state employee indicted in two counties.