A Knoxville man who entered a guilty plea to raping a child was sentenced Thursday to serve 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
John P. Baskins, 24, pleaded guilty in September to Rape of a Child and Especially Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
During the plea hearing prosecutors explained that in March 2015 the Knoxville Police Department received a call after a witness walked in on Baskins raping the six-year-old victim. Authorities then got another call that same day when Baskins was threatening to jump off a bridge before negotiators talked him down and took him into custody.
The victim was forensically interviewed at ChildHelp and explained how Baskins sexually assaulted her. Investigators recovered images from Baskins' phone that corroborated the victim's account of the crime. DNA analysis also confirmed the account.
During Thursday's sentencing hearing, Assistant District Attorney General Ashley McDermott shared testimony from the victim's mother and from another victim who came forward after Baskins' arrest.
The second victim said she was raped by Baskins when she was four years old.
“This Office has a special responsibility to aggressively prosecute those who prey upon
children,” said DA Charme Allen in a press release. “Because of the hard work of the dedicated
prosecutors and investigators in this case, the children of this community are safer with Baskins behind bars.”
The 40 year sentence is the maximum Baskins could receive in this case.