Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 11, 2014

Judge gives Spaulding 75 years

PRINCETON — Calling the crimes “a perfect storm” of two “perverse personalities,” a Mercer County Circuit judge sentenced a Montcalm man to 75 years in prison on multiple sexual assault and possession of child pornography charges.

John Spaulding, 41, hung his head throughout much of Wednesday’s hearing, during which Judge William Sadler also denied a motion for a new trial. Several of Spaulding’s family members lined the front two rows of benches near where he was seated.

Spaulding was found guilty on April 3 on three charges of first-degree sexual assault and 50 charges of possession of child pornography. It was the second time a jury heard his case. In February, three days of testimony ended in a mistrial when one of the jurors became ill. Although Sadler offered to allow the jury to go home and continue deliberations the next day, the jurors determined they could not continue.

Attorney Harold B. Wolfe II, who represented Spaulding at both trials and the sentencing hearing, argued during the trials that his client 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 testified at both of Spaulding’s trials.

No family members of the victims spoke at the sentencing hearing.

Speaking on behalf of the state, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said Spaulding had a “heaping helping of due process,” and asked for the maximum sentence. He noted that during his time as a prosecutor he had never “been more repulsed by any evidence.”

Wolfe asked the court for a “reasonable sentence — less than the maximum.” Spaulding declined to speak when asked if he wanted to address the court.

Sadler noted that Spaulding’s conviction on three counts of sexual assault involved a 3-year-old child. Citing a pre-sentencing report, Sadler said Spaulding “sees himself as a victim instead of an abuser.”

Spaulding thinks he is “too smart or too charming to be caught,” Sadler said, calling the crimes “inexcusable.”

“If there is any type of case where society demands punishment it is offenses involving children,” he said.

Sadler said Spaulding and Cox were found guilty of “basically, arranging a premeditated, pre-deliberated, thought-out, planned sexual assault on a 3-year-old child.”

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