PASCAGOULA, Miss. – A Mississippi man who faked his own death by suicide in an attempt to avoid criminal charges has been convicted of raping a girl and impregnating her when he was 40 and she was 14. He’s now been sentenced to prison for 85 years, according to reports.
Jacob Blair Scott, 44, was convicted by a jury on Thursday of four counts of touching a child for lustful purposes, nine counts of sexual battery, and one count of child exploitation.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Kathy King Jackson sentenced him to 85 years in prison and ordered him to pay fines in the amount of $10,000. She said it is essentially a life sentence, the Star Advertiser reported.
Investigators found Scott’s small boat off the coast of Orange Beach, Alabama, in July 2018. They also discovered a gun and a note aboard the boat. However, there was little forensic evidence to support a suicide.
According to the US Marshals Service, a weeks-long search effort by authorities for Scott’s body failed to find his remains.
When Scott used a ruse to fake his suicide, he was out on bond and had a scheduled court hearing, but failed to appear. Furthermore, investigators discovered that he withdrew $45,000 from a bank account before disappearing.
Scott was taken into custody in January 2020 after he was placed on the US Marshals list of 15 most wanted fugitives. He was arrested at an Oklahoma RV park while living under someone else’s name, the New York Post reported following his capture.
“This all-out media blitz led to a critical citizen tip that ultimately resulted in the fastest apprehension of a fugitive in the 37-year history of the 15 Most Wanted program,” said Jeff Tyler, US Marshals assistant director for investigation operations.
Jacob Blair Scott (US Marshals Service)
Judge Jackson described the evidence in the case as “overwhelming.”
“The evidence is overwhelming,” Jackson said. “It’s more evidence than I’ve probably ever seen.”
The victim who became pregnant and gave birth to the baby, offered emotional testimony during the trial. Through tears, she said Scott had sexually assaulted her at least 30 times between 2016 and 2017. The crimes stopped once she became pregnant, the Star Advertiser reported.
Scott pleaded with the judge to take his mental health into consideration, saying he suffered from depression, was heavily medicated, and had relationship issues at the time of the crime that clouded his judgment.
According to the US Marshals Service, Scott is a military veteran and was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq, where he was injured, the New York Post reported.
Prosecutors excoriated Scott for trying to blame post-traumatic stress, a failing relationship and even the victim for the sexual assaults.
District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said that the crime was “brazen and so vile.”
“This is the first time in my 18 years I have ever seen anything so brazen and so vile,” McIlrath said. “This is about blaming the 14-year-old. This whole trial was about humiliating the 14-year-old who had no choice.”