BRADENTON -- Two sisters took the stand Thursday to confront the man who sexually battered and molested them for years.
Then he was locked up for life.
Shawn Ussery, 43, was found guilty by the jury of capital sexual battery by a person 18 years old or over on a child less than 12 years old, lewd and lascivious molestation by a person 18 years old or over on a child less than 12 years old and child abuse in charges involving the youngest of the two, now 12 years old.
Both victims had already taken the stand during testimony, and did so again before the judge made the mandatory life sentence official.
A 12-year-old girl, who had suffered at his hands since she was 7, faced Ussery and directed a brief statement at him. The older sister also made a statement.
Afterward, Circuit Judge Susan Maulucci sentenced Ussery to life in prison.
Ussery still faces similar charges involving the older sister, now 20.
"I am pleased that the defendant will be spending the rest of his life in prison. Not only has justice been served and the community protected by the jury's thoughtful verdict, but the victims will have the opportunity for closure and the ability to heal," Assistant State Attorney Julie Binkley said in statement to the Bradenton Herald. "The victims showed great courage in confronting the greatest tragedy a child can face."
Binkley described the girls' testimony as empowering.
The jury, dismissed after rendering a verdict, stayed beyond their civic duty. Following a brief recess, each juror took a seat in the galley, watched the victims speak and Ussery sentenced.
Ussery had been held in custody at the Manatee County jail without bond since his second arrest Aug. 5, 2014.
The allegations arose after the eldest victim made an anonymous tip to the child abuse hotline, sparking an investigation.
Following his initial arrest Aug. 1, 2015, Ussery admitted he had taken the victims to a hotel where the abuse continued. He was charged with child abuse because he would give the girls crystal methamphetamine to smoke, too.
Ussery's girlfriend, Amy Muse, was also convicted in charges related to the case for failing to report the child abuse despite disclosures made to her. In addition to ignoring the abuse, Muse once struck one girl for making the disclosure.
Muse, 39, pleaded no contest to two counts of child neglect and one count of battery in July 2015. She was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of drug offender probation.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.