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FILE – This undated photo provided by the El Paso County, Colorado Sheriffs Office shows Terry Allen Miles, of Round Rock, Texas. A federal judge has imposed a life sentence on Miles, who kidnapped two sisters from a Central Texas home where their mother was later found dead. Judge Lee Yeakel handed down the sentence Tuesday, May 21, 2019, for Miles, who was convicted by a jury in February of several charges, including two counts of kidnapping. (El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriffs Office via AP, File)
AUSTIN, Texas – A man accused of fatally beating a Central Texas woman, kidnapping her daughters and sexually assaulting one of them for five months was sentenced Tuesday to life in federal prison.
Terry Allen Miles, 45, was convicted in February of several charges, including two counts of kidnapping .
Authorities discovered the body of the woman during a welfare check at the home she shared with Miles in Round Rock near Austin in December 2017. The check had been requested after she didn't turn up to work.
Authorities believe Miles beat her with a heavy flashlight. Her eldest daughter, then 14, testified that she saw Miles punch her mother and knock her to the floor. She said Miles later came to her with blood on his clothing.
After the beating, Miles fled with the girls, then aged 7 and 14, investigators said. Sheriff's deputies traced a cellphone used by the girls to catch up with them a few days later near La Veta, Colorado, a remote area in the southern part of the state.
Miles also was found guilty in February of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sex and of interstate travel with intent to engage in sex with a minor.
Prosecutor Michelle Fernald said at trial that Miles met the teenage daughter earlier in 2017 when she was visiting her father in Louisiana. Fernald said he groomed the girl by paying her special attention and making her feel important, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
After returning to Texas, the girl exchanged nearly 1,000 phone calls and texts with Miles from August to September of 2017.
Fernald said Miles convinced her mother to allow him to move into their home to serve as a nanny of sorts for the girl, who was being home-schooled, and her sister. Prosecutors say he engaged in sexual relations with the older girl over a five-month period.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick told The Associated Press following Miles' conviction that he was charged with the federal crimes, rather than the state crime of murder, because those were the strongest charges prosecutors could bring at the time of his arrest.
Miles' defense team had argued that he was diagnosed with a mental illness and that he should receive a lesser sentence because his illness made him less culpable.
This story has been corrected to show that Miles was sentenced to life in prison, and to reflect that the mother of the two girls was not his girlfriend.
Video: Man accused of kidnapping two girls in Cedar Park sentenced to life in prison