24-year-old Kernell Zeno Jr., of McKinney, Texas, has been given 50 years in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.
“These two children courageously tried to outsmart their abuser and install their own protection, courageously told a trusted adult who ultimately did not help them, and then courageously testified against their abuser. We are grateful to this jury for recognizing their courage and making sure this predator never assaults another child,” stated DA Greg Willis.
Zeno was an adult who was familiar with and had access to two kids who told of their abuse. He sexually abused the children for five years, beginning when the children were about nine years old.
As they tried to put a stop to the abuse, both children were able to accumulate enough money to buy locks for their bedroom doors. However, Zeno still abused them as he opened the locks with a knife. Evidence showing the pry marks was shown to the jury.
One of the children eventually told a family member about the abuse. That person never notified authorities, and the abuse continued. Once a therapist found out what was going on, the McKinney Police Department and CPS were notified.
Later, a jury found Zeno guilty of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. As the trial took place, they learned that Zeno had served time in 2019 for felony criminal mischief. Also, in 2020, Zeno had a pending felony charge for Burglary of a Habitation in McKinney. At that time, he had broke entry into a home and stole jewelry and money. Zeno was named through fingerprints that were taken from the scene and camera footage.
Ultimately, Zeno was given 50 years in prison without the possibility parole for the abuse of the children.