Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 19, 2013

Matoaka man sentenced

Judge gives minimum of 10 years in sexual assault, abuse case

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A Matoaka-area man will serve at least 10 years in prison, undergo long-term supervision, and remain a registered sex offender the rest of his life after being sentenced Tuesday in Mercer County Circuit Court on charges of second-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual abuse. Both charges involved an 11-year-old girl.

Wilbur Lee Hess Sr., 53, was brought for sentencing before Judge William Sadler. Hess pleaded guilty to the charges on April 4.

Sadler sentenced Hess to 10 to 25 years on second-degree sexual assault. Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said Hess would not be eligible for parole for 10 years. If Hess gets credit for good behavior, he could be released within 12-and-a-half years, Sitler said.

There was an indeterminate sentence of one to five years for first-degree sexual abuse. Sadler suspended this sentence, but Hess will serve five years probation for the sexual abuse charge after Hess serves the term for sexual assault. He received 433 days credit on the sexual assault charge.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ash said at the time of the plea agreement that Hess was the girl’s guardian when the abuse occurred. She complained to one of her friends in April 2012 that Hess was “contacting her sexually.” The allegations were reported to police.

Hess will be 62 years old if he is granted parole in 10 years, Sitler said. He will be 67 after five years probation.

Hess will be required to register with the West Virginia State Police as a sex offender for the remainder of his life, Sadler said. The terms of being a registered sex offender include keeping the state police updated about his place of employment, home address, email addresses, Internet names, and the descriptions and license plate numbers of any vehicle he owns or uses. Hess will not be allowed to have any contact with children.