A Hopkinsville man who was recently convicted on three counts of rape by a Christian County jury was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday afternoon.

James T. Hinman II, 39, was convicted on one count of first-degree rape with serious physical injury and two counts of first-degree rape by trial Aug. 2 this year.

After he was found guilty, the jury recommended he be sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree rape with injury charge and 20 years in prison for each of the first-degree rape charges. The jury recommended the sentences run consecutively, or one after the other.

Judge Andrew Self sentenced to him to life in prison with the other 40 years to run concurrently for a total of life in prison.

Self said it’s not permissible legally to sentence him to life with an additional 40 years to run consecutively. He also gave Hinman credit for time already served in prison.

Hinman has been in custody since March 2013, when he was arrested by the Christian County Sheriff’s Office on several rape charges.

Hinman was originally convicted in 2014 on one count of first-degree rape, which was later overturned on appeal by Hinman.

According to New Era archives, in 2016, Hinman appealed his conviction on the grounds he was denied a unanimous verdict on the first-degree rape guilt determination and sentence.

He also claimed he was denied a unanimous verdict on the assault determination and said hearsay and bolstering testimony were improperly admitted into evidence, according to a Kentucky Supreme Court decision.

The court reversed the rape conviction and granted a new trial but affirmed the assault conviction.

Hinman shared after learning his sentence Wednesday that he plans to file an appeal just as he has in the past.

“We’ve been doing this for years,” Hinman said to Self before hearing his final sentence. “I’ve been innocent from day one. I don’t think, personally, that you believe that, but I hope one day, we’ll get this settled.”

The former Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor indicted Hinman on three counts of first-degree rape in 2017, but the current Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling requested a special prosecutor from Beshear’s office due to a conflict of interest.

According to court documents, Hinman returned home between March 12 and March 15, 2013, after having been gone 30 days on a barge.

He reportedly forced the victim to perform sex acts over a three-day period. He also reportedly assaulted her, causing bruising and broken bones and told her he would kill her if she told anyone.

According to archives, Pryor previously said the reason to charge him with only one count of rape in 2013 stemmed from the fact her office didn’t have as much detail about the three-day torture until the victim testified and because it was a continuous time frame.

She was then able to charge him with three new counts in 2017, which were tried by jury this week and he was found guilty.

Barbara Whaley from the attorney general's office handled the prosecution of the case.

In other court news, one of two men charged for several robberies in Hopkinsville in 2017, Juandez K. Bussell, 20, appeared in court Wednesday morning to receive his final sentence, but Judge John Atkins postponed his sentencing date.

Bussell, who was represented by Jason Pfeil, entered a guilty plea to both of his cases Aug. 28, carrying a total recommended sentence of 15 years.

Boling recommended to the court that Bussell be sentenced to 10 years on his 2017 case and five years on his 2019 case, totaling 15 years.

Bussell was scheduled to receive his final sentence Wednesday morning, but Atkins moved Bussell’s sentencing to Dec. 4. Bussell requested to move the date to resolve issues he had between his attorney Pfeil and Bussell’s family.

Bussell’s former codefendant, Tequan Owen, 20, has not entered a guilty plea and is currently scheduled for trial by jury to begin Feb. 20.

Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or aseeger@kentuckynewera.com. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra

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