Texas man receives more than 10 life sentences for torturing stepchildren, nephews

A Texas man was found guilty of torturing children and received more than 10 life sentences for his crimes.

David Calhoun, 38, tortured several children similar to the way prisoners of war and political prisoners were tortured during the Korean and Vietnam wars, prosecutors said, according to Fox 4. The abuse was inflicted on several of his stepchildren and nephews who lived with him in a fifth-wheel trailer near Gainesville, Texas.

The Cooke County District Attorney’s Office said jurors deliberated for less than an hour on Monday before convicting Calhoun on five counts of sexual assault of a child, seven counts of aggravated assault, and one count of assault strangulation.

Jurors took about the same amount of time to determine Calhoun’s punishment, which was 10 life sentences, a 10-year sentence and two 20-year sentences.

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David Calhoun, 38, was convicted on five counts of sexual assault of a child, seven counts of aggravated assault, and one count of assault strangulation. (Cooke County Jail)

“The prolonged period of torture that the defendant put the children through in this case is the worst abuse that I have ever seen,” Cook County prosecutor Eric Erlandson said. “The mental, psychological, and physical torture that they endured for the better part of six years is unimaginable.”

“The resilience and strength that the children showed in this case is awe-inspiring. They never gave up and showed tremendous courage from the very beginning. The lasting legacy of this case is that evil will not prevail — even when things seemed hopeless the children were determined to make their story heard,” Erlandson added.

The abuse started in 2017 when Calhoun began looking after his nephews, court documents show.

Investigators learned about the abuse in 2022 after police found Calhoun’s 16-year-old nephew in a Nebraska hotel room with several unrelated adults.

The boy told police he ran away from home to escape extreme physical and psychological abuse. He showed them scars across his body and outlined instances in which he was tied up for days, set on fire with gasoline, beaten with a metal pipe, stabbed with a kitchen knife and burned on his face and genitals almost daily with either a lighter or a cattle prod.

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David Calhoun was given 10 life sentences, a 10-year sentence and two 20-year sentences. (iStock)

The teenager said Calhoun used a Channellock to remove his fingernails and toenails. He also said Calhoun knocked out several of his teeth with brass knuckles and wrapped a hair tie around his testicles for 24 hours.

Investigators later discovered evidence that the abuse had happened in multiple cities across East Texas and that multiple children and adults in the home were victims of Calhoun’s abuse.

“The abuse increased until it reached its climax in the summer of 2022 in Cooke County, Texas,” the Cooke County District Attorney’s Office said. “At which time, the abuse was described by Pamela Miller, Senior Policy Analyst with the APSAC Center for Child Policy, as Intrafamilial Child Torture — which is almost indistinguishable from the type of torture that POWs and political prisoners suffered during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.”

Calhoun’s wife, Ashley Calhoun, and another adult living in the home were also indicted for their alleged connection to the case. They are scheduled to go to trial next month.

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