In less than an hour Monday, a Franklin County jury convicted a Frankfort man of sexually abusing a 7-year-old girl and recommended he spend eight decades behind bars.
Travis A. Durrum, 30, was found guilty of several sex crimes. He and his wife, 25-year-old Juanita Marie Durrum, had been charged in connection with the abuse of the girl in Franklin County between Oct. 1, 2016, and Nov. 13, 2017.
After about 20 minutes of deliberation at the end of his one-day trial, jurors convicted Travis Durrum of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy, both Class B felonies, and first-degree criminal abuse of a child younger than 12 and first-degree sexual abuse of a victim younger than 12, both Class C felonies. Jurors then deliberated about 20 more minutes before returning with a recommendation that he spend 80 years in prison for the crimes.
“This was a no-nonsense, don’t-mess-with-the-kids-in-our-county jury,” said Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland. “They were saying Franklin County has no use for child abusers. And they sent that message loud and clear.”
Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate will have the final decision on the sentence at a later hearing. If sentenced in accordance with the jury’s recommendation, Travis Durrum will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence before being considered for parole.
According to official reports, the child was in foster care before being housed with the Durrums. She was placed in the care of Juanita Durrum because relatives receive preference in foster child cases. While living with the Durrums, the juvenile endured sexual and physical abuse on multiple occasions over the course of more than a year, Cleveland said.
While Juanita Durrum was charged with physical abuse in the case, Cleveland said he did not reference her role in the crime to the jury.
“To simplify the case, I focused on the sexual abuse committed by him,” Cleveland said. “…The child was a credible witness, and the jury accepted her testimony. When that happens, you’re going to get bombed.”
Juanita Durrum, of Lawrenceburg, recently pleaded guilty in an alleged drug deal turned double homicide. She was arrested along with four other people in June 2018 after gunfire erupted inside the home at 302 Alexander St. and left targets of an alleged robbery, 22-year-old Jared Miles Moore and 24-year-old Dustin Wayne Johnson, dead. Durrum faces up to 35 years in prison on reduced charges in that case if she testifies truthfully in the prosecution of her co-defendants.
While she was in custody on the charges stemming from the homicides, a grand jury indicted Juanita Durrum for her role in the child abuse case. That charge was later dismissed, court records stated.
In spite of the abuse suffered by the child, Cleveland said, she has persevered.
“She’s doing well in school and there are no behavioral issues or anything like that,” he said. “Her teachers tell me she is a model student. She’s a great kid that’s been through a terrible situation.”