The Weld County District Attorney's office said it was a horrific case – one of the worst they'd seen. On March 8, 2018, 34-year-old Joseph Covington was sentenced to 72 years to life for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in 2016. Thursday morning, Weld District Court Judge Shannon Lyons sentenced Joseph Covington on charges of sexual assault on a child, kidnapping, and enticement of a child.

According to court documents, Covington assaulted the girl at his Greeley apartment when the victim arrived at his home, looking to play with a child who also lived there. Covington told the victim the young boy she was looking to play with was inside the residence when he wasn’t. He then followed her into his apartment and sexually assaulted her for more than an hour-and-a-half in various rooms.

Covington’s DNA was found on the girl’s body and clothes, and a jury found him guilty in November of 2017.

“He tried to break her that day,” Weld Chief Deputy District Attorney Thea Carrasco told the judge during sentencing. “And frankly he came pretty darn close. He stole the innocence from this precious child. This little girl’s life will never be the same. But because of her bravery and courage, I have hope that she will be a survivor and not a victim of this man’s horrific crime for the rest of her life.”