A Belington man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his 5-year-old stepdaughter was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 15 to 45 years in the state penitentiary Wednesday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong sentenced John Michael Wilson Jr., 26, to 10 to 20 years in prison for one count of sexual abuse by a parent or guardian and 5 to 25 years in prison for one count of first-degree sexual abuse. Wilson's sentences are to run consecutively and will be followed by 50 years of extended supervised release.
In April, Wilson confessed to making the child perform an oral sex act while she was under his care.
"The facts of this case are quite frankly disgusting," Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker told the court. "What the defendant did to this child can never be taken back."
Parker asked Wilfong to impose the stiffest sentence possible with the "maximum amount of supervision" while he's in prison.
Wilson's attorney, Matthew Fair, pointed out that Wilson had taken "complete responsibility for this horrendous action," noting that Wilson's personal history included sexual abuse. Fair said that a psychologist who evaluated Wilson indicated that he had a low risk for recidivism.
Wilfong asked Wilson if he had anything to say prior to sentencing.
"I'm sorry," Wilson said simply. "There's nothing I can do to take it back, not 15 years in prison, nothing."
"This child considered you to be her father," Wilfong replied. "You're right; there's nothing you can do to take your actions back, but I'm going to do everything I can to prevent you from ever having another opportunity to do this to this child or another child.
"Mr. Wilson, whenever someone is up for parole, the Department of Corrections writes a letter and asks me for a recommendation," she said. "I will recommend you never be paroled. It's my intent to have you in jail or have you under the strict supervision of an officer who will monitor your every move for the rest of your natural life."
Following Wilson's sentencing, Parker said the state was satisfied.
"Given the extreme and disturbing nature of this offense, the state's main goal in this case was to ensure that the defendant was either incarcerated or under the restrictions of the intensive supervised release for sexual offenders provided in (state code) for the remainder of his life," Parker remarked.
"Thankfully, that goal was achieved due to an excellent investigation by Trooper First Class J. R. Wince and Trooper R. W. Jones, both of the West Virginia State, along with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources."
Wilfong also sentenced two women involved in a plot to smuggle tobacco, illegal drugs and other controlled substances into Huttonsville Correctional Facility on Wednesday.
Wilfong sentenced Karena Davis, 32, of Nitro, to two to 10 years in the state penitentiary on each of two felony counts of transportation of a controlled substance onto the grounds of a correctional facility; these sentences will run consecutively. Davis was also sentenced to one to three years on one felony count of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility, and one to five years on one felony count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance; these sentences will run concurrently with the felony transportation sentences.
Parker said Davis was involved in three transactions in which she attempted to transmit drugs and other contraband - including tobacco, lighters, suboxone, synthetic marijuana, marijuana and morphine - to two Huttonsville Correctional Facility inmates, Michael Joe Bragg and Brian Allen Simpkins.
The prosecuting attorney said Davis' actions "undermine the integrity of the entire criminal justice system."
Parker also said Davis continued to have contact with Bragg, one of her incarcerated co-defendants, despite Wilfong ordering in August that she have no contact with any co-defendants, except her brother, Henry Martin Woody Jr.
Nykeea Gumm, an investigator at Huttonsville Correctional Center, testified that there had been 653 phone calls between Davis and one of her incarcerated co-defendants, Michael Joe Bragg, between July 11 and Oct. 22.
Parked asked Wilfong to consider the maximum sentence of six to 28 years and asked that the sentences run consecutively.
"This is not only the delivery of drugs, this is the delivery of drugs to a correctional facility. This is not just one occasion, this is three occasions," Parker said.
Fair asked for an alternate sentencing, arguing that Davis "has made some dumb decisions, but she has no criminal history, she has a family, she has employment. She was in a bad situation with the relationship she chose (with Bragg)."
Wilfong sentenced Davis to 4 to 20 years in the state penitentiary.
"Quite honestly, Ms. Davis, this is a very serious offense that compromises the integrity of the entire criminal justice system ... and compromises the safety of all the inmates and all the correctional officers," Wilfong said.
Wilfong also sentenced Davis' co-defendant, Sara Lynette Cantrell, 33, of Lesage, to one to three years in the state penitentiary on each of three felony counts of attempt of transportation of controlled substances onto the grounds of a correctional facility.
The second count will run consecutively to the first, while the third count will run concurrently to the first two counts for a total of two to six years.
Prior to that ruling, Cantrell's attorney, Dwight Hall, asked that his client receive an alternate sentence, such as participation in the Randolph County Community Corrections program and/or home confinement, arguing that she only participated in one transfer of contraband onto the grounds of the prison. Hall said Cantrell did not understand "the long-term implications of her actions."
Cantrell's mother, Rita Johnson, testified that Cantrell was "so good to people that it's hard for her to say no" -implying that quality played a role in her daughter's involvement in the case.
Following Wilfong's decision in the Huttonsville case, Parker provided a written statement in which he said he was "pleased" with Wilfong's rulings in the Davis and Cantrell cases, given their seriousness.
"Fortunately, due to the efforts of the investigators and officers at Huttonsville, all contraband and controlled substances were intercepted before being introduced into the prison population," Parker wrote. "Regardless, however, the defendants' actions in this case undermine the integrity of the entire criminal justice system and reduce the security of the Huttonsville Correctional Center, putting not only the inmates but also the officers at risk.
"The state...will continue to aggressively prosecute cases where contraband is introduced into any correctional facility located within Randolph County."
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.