Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 3, 2014

Spaulding takes the stand

PRINCETON — A Mercer County man facing numerous charges including first-degree sexual assault involving a 3-year-old girl and 50 counts of possessing child pornography took the stand Wednesday in his own defense.

The trial of John Spaulding, 41, of Montcalm, was in its third day in Mercer County Circuit Court when he took the stand and testified. Spaulding was arrested in October 2013 after the West Virginia State Police found a laptop computer containing child pornography images during a search of his home.

The defense has argued that Kimberly Cox, 38, of Nemours, placed child pornography and text messages on Spaulding’s computer, and implicated him after learning she was facing a long prison sentence for sexual assault charges of her own.

Cox pleaded guilty in November 2013 to sexual assault first degree and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian. She 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 are running consecutively. Cox must serve 25 calendar years before she is eligible for parole. She testified Tuesday at Spaulding’s trial.

Cox testified that she became reacquainted with Spaulding, who she knew in high school, when Spaulding sent a friend request to Anna, a fictional woman Cox created in social media. Cox described how she then spent years with Spaulding by going to different cities and states in a quest to meet Anna, and even proposed to her. Cox also said she sent text messages from Anna and even pretended to be Anna on the telephone.

“Everything she said had a little bit of truth in it and a whole lot of lies,” Spaulding testified Wednesday while being questioned by his attorney, Harold B. Wolfe II.

Spaulding also testified that Cox frequently had access to his laptop computer and sometimes used his cell phone, and used it even more after hers was confiscated by police. Child pornography images were found on it after Cox’s boyfriend at that time took it to a Bluefield pawnshop.

In other testimony, Spaulding said he was fighting a lack of sleep when he was questioned by West Virginia State Police investigators, and added, “I don’t remember a lot of what I did say.”

Cox had told investigators earlier that she had feared Spaulding, but later said he had given her a gun for protection, which she later pawned. When Wolfe asked Spaulding about the weapon, he said that he had given Cox a 9 mm Taurus handgun. He continued to tell the jury how he never got his car back when he sent it to Cox’s boyfriend for transmission work, but Judge William Sadler stopped him.

“Mr. Spaulding, please limit your answers and answer the question that was asked,” Sadler said.

Spaulding denied he had met with Cox and a 3-year-old girl at the Economy Inn in Bluefield during February 2012. His brother, the late Jackie Spaulding II, had died during a shooting incident with police in January that year, so he was spending more time at home caring for his mother.

“She will tell you I stayed with her every day,” he said.

On cross-examination, Spaulding said the extensive text message traffic between him, Cox and the fictional Anna was not connected to him.

“Mr. Spaulding, you deny any of this traffic has anything to do with you?” Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler inquired.

“I do,” Spaulding replied.

Spaulding allegedly spent money helping the fictional Anna, and Sitler asked if he had any documentation to prove this.

“How much money did you spend, and where is the documentation?” Sitler asked.

“I didn’t have a check book,” Spaulding said. “I don’t have a receipt for anything I bought.”

The trial continues today.

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