Refugee’s daughter is attacked and now needs heart transplant
A Tarrant County jury sentenced a man to life in prison for attacking a 12-year-old girl as she walked to her Fort Worth school bus stop in April 2018.
Terry King II was convicted of assault causing serious bodily injury to a child and attempted aggravated kidnapping.
King attacked Dorika Uwimana on April 19, 2018, in the Las Vegas Trail neighborhood of west Fort Worth. The girl was beaten so badly and strangled for so long, she had to have a heart transplant.
The trial started Monday in state District Judge Mollee Westfall’s 371st District Court, and jurors found King guilty on Tuesday. After hearing more testimony in the punishment phase, the jury deliberated for about 40 minutes Wednesday before returning with the sentence.
During the trial, Dorika, now 14, testified against King. On Wednesday, state prosecutors and King’s defense attorneys called several more witnesses to testify.
A woman who was in an on-again off-again relationship with King in 2003 said he was prone to violence. She said he once physically attacked her and threw her against a wall, choking her.
The woman said when they dated, King was angry, aggressive, manipulative and lacked remorse for things he had done.
Dorika’s father, Twizere Buhinja, testified for the second time on Wednesday. He also took the stand Monday. Through an interpreter, he said he and his family thought Dorika was going to die after the attack. She was in the hospital for four months and remains on medication.
He said in late August, his daughter had to be hospitalized again because she was so afraid of coming to court to testify against King.
King’s grandmother testified on Wednesday as well. She said she raised King because his mother and father were often absent. She said King has a mental condition she tried to treat as he was growing up, but she was often blocked from getting him the help he needed.
When asked by prosecutors if she taught her grandson right from wrong, she said she took King to church growing up and he knew he could always come to her for help.
Defense attorney Taylor Ferguson asked the jury to consider a sentence that would allow King to be a part of his 4-year-old daughter’s life.
State prosecutors asked the jury to give King life in prison for his attack on Dorika. Prosecutor Dale Smith argued King’s criminal record and aggressive history show he cannot be rehabilitated.
“How much mercy did the defendant show when he picked Dorika up? How much mercy did he show when he put his hands around her 12-year-old neck and started squeezing the life out of her?” he said to the jury.
Other testimony during the trial included a police officer who described King’s assault of a woman he was dating, a witness who said King punched him in his car and a Fort Worth police detective who said cameras showed King near the crime scene the day Dorika was attacked.
King has a criminal history that includes bank larceny, vehicle burglary and prostitution.
Dorika’s father, Buhinja, is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He and his family lived in a refugee camp in Uganda for 16 years before they came to Fort Worth about three years ago.