A Brenham man sentenced last April to life in prison for several felony sex acts has had his appeal denied.
Friday, the First Court of Appeals issued a mandate affirming the convictions and upholding the judgments made in the case of 29-year-old Hector Mancilla. Mancilla was convicted last year for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Aggravated Sexual Assault, and two counts of Sexual Performance by a Child. He was given two life sentences and two 20-year sentences, which were ordered by the court to run consecutively.
Mancilla was indicted in June 2018 on the charges, after an investigation in 2017 by the Brenham Police Department. According to the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, investigation began after the child’s mother discovered video in an old cell phone of Mancilla sexually assaulting the victim on multiple occasions. At the time of the recordings, Mancilla was living with the victim, but he had moved to Las Vegas when the videos were discovered.
Mancilla’s sole issue in his appeal stated that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting testimony from the forensic interviewer at Scotty’s House, a child advocacy center in Bryan, despite the interviewer not being the first person to be informed of the alleged offense. His appeal contended that the child’s mother, not the interviewer, was the first adult the child spoke with about the offenses.
Sexual Performance of a Child is a second degree felony with punishment ranging from 2-20 years. Aggravated Sexual Assault is a first degree felony with punishment range of 5-99 years, or life. Both those charges allow for parole consideration after Mancilla has completed 30 years of the sentence. Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child is a first degree felony with range of 25-99 years, or life, with no possibility of parole.
Washington County District Attorney Julie Renken said this was an “extremely difficult case at trial”, and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Haevischer put “a tremendous amount of work into it”. She said he is “pleased to see the Court of Appeals agreed with the citizens on the jury in affirming the conviction”.