Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 7, 2014

Mistrial declared in case of man facing multiple charges of sexual assault and child pornography

PRINCETON — A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a Mercer County man facing multiple charges of sexual assault and child pornography.

Circuit Court Judge William Sadler announced at 6:20 p.m. that the jury can’t continue deliberations in the case of John Spaulding due to the fact that one juror is having chest pains and an anxiety attack. Sadler also ruled that an alternate juror who had been dismissed earlier couldn’t be recalled after the jury began deliberations. A status hearing has been set for next Thursday at 9:30 a.m. to set a new trial date.

Spaulding, 41, of Montcalm, had been charged with sexual assault first degree, sexual abuse first degree, attempt to commit a felony and 50 counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The alleged victims were 3 and 14, according to court documents.

Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler argued in his closing statement that text messages and other evidence showed how John Spaulding, 41, received child pornography photographs from Kimberly Cox, 38, of Nemours, and made arrangements with her to meet at a Bluefield motel so he could have a  sexual encounter with a 3-year-old girl.

Defense attorney Harold Wolfe countered that Cox manufactured the evidence to control Spaulding and to avoid up to 420 years in prison. Cox pleaded guilty previously to sexual assault and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian. She must serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

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