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Local child rapist gets life thanks to out-of-circuit DA 

Athens resident Michael Lareco Daniel, 43, was convicted last week for the rape of a 14-year-old girl within his family.

The jury deliberated for only 45 minutes before finding Daniel guilty of rape, aggravated sexual battery, incest, child molestation, battery, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Judge Thomas L. Hodges III sentenced Daniel to life in prison, plus 50 years.

The case was tried by Alcovy Judicial Circuit DA Randy McGinley, who had been appointed to the case after Western Judicial Circuit DA Deborah Gonzalez had dismissed it, and Superior Court Judge Eric Norris vacated the dismissal.

Last year, Watkinsville attorney Kevin Epps represented the family of the victim in a legal complaint against Gonzalez, whose office dismissed the case while she was attending a symposium in Selma, Alabama.

Epps argued that ADA assigned to the case was busy preparing for a murder trial, and as a result, he failed to subpoena a forensic interviewer in a timely manner. The case was subsequently dismissed, and Gonzalez argued the rape case was dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Judge Norris last year ruled that Gonzalez violated Marsy’s Law, which meant that she violated the rights of a victim by dismissing the case without notifying her or her mother.

“The evidence adduced suggests that the nolle prosequi (dismissal) was entered improvidently,” Norris wrote in his decision to vacate the dismissal and allow the case to be prosecuted but with a DA from another judicial circuit.

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