HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry man has been found guilty of raping and impregnating a 10-year-old girl.
Officials with the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office announced that 37-year-old Tony Orlanda Singleton of Estill was found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual assault with a minor under the age of 11.
Singleton was sentenced to life in prison.
A jury of two men and 10 women returned its verdict Wednesday at the Hampton County Courthouse.
“This girl should be getting ready to go back to school, making friends, braiding her hair – things other girls her age typically are engaged in,” said prosecutor Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who called 10 witnesses during the two-day trial. “Instead, she’s in a courtroom, reliving a horrific ordeal.
“Tony Singleton is to blame for that. This man was someone she trusted, someone who lurked inside her home, someone who changed the fabric of his victim’s life forever.”
A press release by prosecutors states that in April 2016, the victim told a forensic interviewer that a few months earlier, a man who knew her mother came into her room one night while she watched SpongeBob SquarePants, turned off the lights and the television, then forced her to have intercourse.
The solicitor’s office said the girl’s revelation was made after her mother took her to a doctor to terminate the girl’s pregnancy.
“A DNA sample taken from the fetus and sent to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division for analysis showed Singleton was the unborn child’s father,” prosecutors said."The jury deliberated 51 minutes before reaching its verdict."
Singleton has previous convictions for traffic and drug offenses.
Circuit Court Judge Carmen T. Mullen delivered the sentence.
The solicitor’s office released the following additional information:
Swanson is the leader of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which sexual assault, domestic violence and other crimes against vulnerable populations. She also is a member of the Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 333 of the 347 defendants it has prosecuted since the team was formed in 2008.