Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 3, 2014

Sentencing date set for June 11 in Spaulding’s sexual assault case

PRINCETON — A new sentencing date was set Monday for a Mercer County man who was convicted in April on charges including first-degree sexual assault and multiple charges of possessing child pornography.

A circuit court jury found John Spaulding, 41, of Montcalm, guilty on April 3 on three charges of first-degree sexual assault and 50 charges of possession of child pornography. Jurors found him not guilty of three other sexual assault charges. Spaulding was taken into custody immediately after the jury rendered its verdict. He is currently incarcerated at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver.

Spaulding appeared Monday for a hearing before Judge William Sadler in which Sadler was to consider a motion for a new trial and to proceed with sentencing if that motion was denied.

A presentencing investigation Sadler ordered for Spaulding had not been completed, said Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler. Attorney Harold B. Wolfe II, who is representing Spaulding, made a motion for a new trial, which Sadler took under advisement.

A new hearing date was set for June 11. Sitler said it is routine for defense attorneys to make a motion for a new trial.

Spaulding’s case was heard before two juries. In February, three days of testimony ended in a mistrial when one of the jurors became ill. Sadler offered to allow the jury to go home and continue deliberations the next day, but the jurors determined they could not continue.

 Two alternate jurors had been assigned, but one joined the jury during the trial after one of its members called in sick, and the second juror had been dismissed before deliberations began. Sadler checked West Virginia state law and could not find anything that would allow the court to recall an alternate juror after deliberations had started. Sadler then declared a mistrial. Spaulding’s second trial was scheduled for April.

Spaulding faces 25 to 100 years in prison on each of the sexual assault charges due to the age of the victim, a 3-year-old girl, Sitler said after the conviction. He also faces two years imprisonment for each of the child pornography charges.

Wolfe said at both trials that Spaulding had been “set up” by Kimberly Cox, 38, of Nemours. Cox pleaded guilty to sexual assault first degree and sexual assault by a parent, guardian or custodian. She was sentenced in January and must serve 25 years in prison before being eligible for parole. She testified at both of Spaulding’s trials.

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