Former volleyball coach found guilty of child sexual assault

A former Grapevine volleyball coach has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl and drug offenses.

Damian Merrick was facing two charges of child sexual assault after he was accused of raping two girls, but he was only found guilty on one count. He was also found guilty providing marijuana to the teen girls.

Jurors spent most of the day on Friday deliberating before reaching a guilty verdict.

Prosecutors argued that Merrick used alcohol and drugs to lure the teens during a team trip to Colorado.

Defense attorneys argued before the jury that Merrick had lost everything but his freedom. During closing arguments, the defense told the jury the state had left too much reasonable doubt. They pointed to inconsistent stories by two girls who testified Merrick sexually assaulted them when they were 16 and played on his volleyball team.

The jury deliberated for nearly 7 hours before reaching their verdict. During closing arguments, attorneys from both sides made their points with the jury.

A Grapevine police detective testified Merrick had a sexual relationship with one of those girls for three months and raped a second girl in the bathroom at her friend’s house.

Merrick’s daughter tried to defend him. She spoke on his behalf and said he never gave her drugs or alcohol, but she broke down crying after prosecutors poked holes in her testimony.

The judge began testimony of the punishment phase of the trial Friday afternoon.

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