ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) -- A man found guilty of sexually abusing two young girls at his daughter's birthday slumber party will serve more than two decades in jail.
Michael Gardner insisted he was innocent on Friday but The judge heeded the jury's recommendation to sentence Gardner to 22 years. He was convicted of two counts of sexual battery and one count of object penetration in May.
The convictions come from Gardner's daughter's slumber party on June 17th in Falls Church. The jury believed two girls who said Mr. Gardner fondled their genitals. One of the girls said he put his finger inside her vagina. The prosecution presented convincing DNA evidence which found Gardner's DNA on both of those girls' clothing. His DNA was found on one girl's pajama pants and the interior crotch of the other girl's underwear. She's the one connected to the penetration charge. The strongest DNA was found on her underwear: the probability of the DNA matching to Gardner is one in 20.7 quadrillion.
Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Nicole Wittmann called the girls "heroes." She said that if the girls hadn't come forward so quickly (that morning) so that the evidence could be collected, they might not have secured a conviction.
Gardner is the husband of Falls Church councilwoman Robin Gardner.