Port Lavaca man gets life in prison after sexual assault conviction

A judge sentenced a Port Lavaca man to life in prison Thursday after he was convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Reynaldo Alberto Cantu, 54, was accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl from Oct. 1, 2011, to Oct. 27, 2012. Judge Joseph Patrick Kelly, who presided over the case, also assessed a $10,000 fine.

The child's mother reported the assault to law enforcement, and Cantu turned himself in, said Calhoun County Assistant District Attorney Shannon Salyer.

The child testified before a jury during the four-day trial.

"She was so meek and so quiet, but when it came time to tell her story, she did, and she did a good job," Salyer said.

A jury deliberated for a little more than an hour. They asked to look at letters Cantu sent to his mother from jail, Salyer said. In the letters, Cantu explained to his mother what happened, said Brent Dornburg, Cantu's attorney.

Dornburg said there was a lack of physical evidence.

"They sent a bunch of stuff for testing, but there were no fluids or DNA or anything found," he said. "I was a little shocked (by the outcome). I thought we had a good chance for a lesser included offense or for not guilty."

Calhoun County District Attorney Dan Heard also worked on the case.