Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 14, 2014

Cox gets max sentence

PRINCETON — After dubbing a Mercer County woman’s acts against children  “despicable,” a circuit court judge sentenced her Monday to the maximum penalties for sexual assault and sexual abuse by a parent or custodian.

Kimberly Cox, 38, of Nemours, pleaded guilty in November 2013 to sexual assault first degree and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian. She appeared Monday morning in court for sentencing before Judge William Sadler.

The case against Cox started in the summer of 2012 when a computer she once owned was sold at a pawnshop. Photographs of children in explicit sexual situations with Cox and a 3- to 4-year-old girl were found in the computer when store employees prepared it for sale. They informed the West Virginia State Police.

During Monday’s hearing, Cox’s attorney, Gerald Hayden, asked Judge Sadler to consider giving her concurrent sentences. Cox was facing 15 to 35 years for the sexual assault charge and an additional 10 to 20 years for sex abuse by a parent or custodian.

Hayden said his client was influenced by a another person, John Spaulding, 40, of Montcalm, who is facing charges of sexual assault first degree, attempt to commit a felony, sexual abuse first degree, and 50 counts of possession of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit activity. Cox has agreed to testify at Spaulding’s trial.

“My client was under the spell of a man who made her do things she normally wouldn’t do,” Hayden said. “My client takes responsibility for her actions.”

Reading a statement to her family and the court, Cox brushed back tears and said she regretted her crimes.

“I know my actions were awful,” she said. “I wish I could change them. I know saying sorry can’t make them any better, but I am sorry.”

Hayden said Cox suffered from psychological issues including borderline personality disorder and disassociative disorder. She was a single mother with two children; her parental rights have been revoked.

Sadler noted before sentencing that Cox gave several different statements to investigators. In her latest revision, she said she “did it at the behest of John Spaulding.”

His voice rising, Sadler said he doubted that Cox was ever “under the spell,” of John Spaulding. She also had a tendency to “concoct tales not based on fact.”

“I don’t think at any time she was under his spell,” Sadler said. “At times, Spaulding was under her spell.”

Sadler told Cox that her case and the acts she committed were the worst he had ever seen in his experience, adding that she had put her own desires and needs before the needs of other people.

“I have never ever seen, in my life, a mother willing to do such despicable things to children,” he said forcefully. “Never, ever.”

Sadler then proceeded to give Cox the maximum sentences available. “I can give the maximum, and hope and pray she dies in prison.”

Cox must serve 15 to 35 years for sexual assault in the first degree and 10 to 20 years for sexual abuse by a parent or guardian. The sentences will run consecutively.

Since the sentences run consecutively, Cox must serve 25 calendar years before she is eligible for parole, said Pros-ecuting Attorney Scott Ash. If she were to serve the maximum number of years, 55, she could be eligible for parole in 27-and-a-half years, Ash said.

Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler represented the state of Cox’s sentencing.

Cox will be closely monitored whenever she is released. Sadler informed her that she would be subject to 20 years of supervised release as a sex offender. She cannot have contact with any children, even her own even thought they will be adults by the time she is released, Sadler said. She must also avoid drugs or alcohol, obey restrictions on telephone and computer use, and meet other requirements.

 If the court determines Cox has violated any terms of the supervised release, she could spend the remainder of the 20 years in prison, Sadler said.

In addition to supervised release, Cox must also register as a sex offender for the rest of her life. Within three days of her release, she must report to the West Virginia State Police detachment at the county in which she lives.

This requirement applies to any county in which she owns property that she visits, any county where she works, and any county she travels to in order to attend school. Cox will also be required to give the state police any Internet names or cellphone numbers she uses. Any time Cox changes any information in her sex offender registration, she must physically go to the state police in order to make these revisions.

“Good luck, Ms. Cox,” Sadler said as the hearing concluded. “I hope God has mercy on you.”

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