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Centralia man pleads guilty to assault

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | 10:06 a.m. CST; updated 4:35 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 24, 2012

*CORRECTION: This story has been altered to more accurately reflect the distinction between the defendant's original charges and the charge to which he pleaded guilty.

COLUMBIA — A Centralia man pleaded guilty to third-degree misdemeanor assault at a hearing in Boone County Circuit Court on Monday. 

Gary Wayne Palmer, 46, faces one year in prison and two years of supervised probation *for the assault charge. He was originally charged with four felonies in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of an underage female relative from 1999 until 2010: one count each of first-degree child molestation, first-degree statutory rape, first-degree statutory sodomy and incest.

 The victim was younger than 12 years old at the time of at least one of the incidents, according to court documents.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tracy Gonzalez said Palmer was facing a significantly longer sentence before the plea. She also said that as cases like this progress, evidence sometimes changes, making it difficult to continue as originally planned.

"Things change with regards to evidence that we're no longer able to support," Gonzalez said. "There was accountability here."


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