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Fort Valley man sentenced to 25 years for rape of 8-year-old girl

MACON, Ga. (MCT) -- A Fort Valley man was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation Monday for raping and molesting an 8-year-old girl.

Daniel Kelly Copeland, 29, pleaded guilty to rape and four counts of aggravated child molestation in a Bibb County Superior Court hearing.

The sex acts took place between Sept. 1, 2011, and Jan. 18, 2012.

Copeland's father went to authorities in January 2012 and told them his son admitted having inappropriate relations with children, said Nancy Scott Malcor, a Bibb County prosecutor.

Copeland later told authorities that he and his girlfriend started doing drugs in September 2011 and that the drugs made them "especially sexual," Malcor said.

That's when Copeland said he and his girlfriend, 27-year-old Amanda Dianne Arellano, started performing sex acts in front of the 8-year-old girl. Arellano then helped the girl perform sex acts with Copeland, including oral sex, sodomy and Arellano holding the girl down while Copeland had sex with her, Malcor said.

It became an "every night thing," Malcor said. The sex acts occurred at residences in Bibb and Crawford counties. Arellano lived in Knoxville prior to her arrest.

Copeland also had oral sex with a girl who was 5 and 6 years old at the time. He attempted to have sex with the girl but was unsuccessful, Malcor said.

Arellano, who is charged with rape and four counts of aggravated child molestation, is being held at the Bibb County jail. As a condition of his plea deal, Copeland must testify in Arellano's case.

Copeland is not eligible for parole. Once released on probation, he will be classified as a sex offender.

Malcor said the children are receiving therapy. Arellano could go to trial as early as this summer.

Copeland cried during parts of the hearing. When the judge asked him if he wanted to say anything, he sobbed, saying, "I'm sorry."