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2 men plead guilty to 2004 rapes of Decatur girls, get prison terms

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

Two men pleaded guilty to the rape of two underage girls they met at the Morgan County Fairgrounds, and a judge sentenced them to prison in Circuit Court.

Earl DeShane Watkins, 29, of Moulton, pleaded guilty to second-degree rape of a girl under 16, and Circuit Judge Sherrie Paler sentenced him to seven years in prison, a court official said.

An accomplice, Adrian Deshawn Burney, 31, of Decatur, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape involving both girls, who were under 16. Burney received a 15-year prison sentence.The incident took place Oct. 8, 2004, the second day of the annual Morgan County Fair. Police answered a call to the fairgrounds to investigate the reported rapes of the two teens, according to reports.

Both girls were from Decatur and knew Watkins and Burney. They left with the men willingly from the fairgrounds, police said.

The sexual encounters were not consensual, a court official said.

The rapes reportedly occurred on Red Bank Road Southeast. A second rape occurred the same night at a residence at Dogwood Apartments, authorities said.

A court official said Burney raped both girls.

Police presented information about the rapes to a grand jury.

The grand jury indicted Watkins and Burney in December 2004. Watkins surrendered on the indictments Jan. 18, 2005, and Burney turned himself in to Decatur police a day later, according to reports.

Their cases were set for trial this week, but they pleaded guilty to the offenses.

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