SALINA, Kan. | A Saline County judge has handed a 49-year prison sentence to a man convicted of sodomizing a 12-year-old girl.
An attorney for Vernon Gilliland argued Thursday that people convicted of felony murder, terrorism or treason spend less than 49 years behind bars. But District Judge Daniel Hebert said "molesting a child is right up there with murder and terrorism and the other things you cited."
The 44-year-old Gilliland previously served prison time for burglary and robbery.
A jury in January convicted Gilliland of aggravated criminal sodomy. Prosecutors said the girl's mother walked in the room and thought she saw him performing oral sex on her daughter in June 2007.
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A prosecutor read the court a letter from the girl in which she said she had lost her childhood and that Gilliland's actions had destroyed family relationships.