The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

April 3, 2014

Jury finds Mercer man guilty of sexual assault, possession of child porn

PRINCETON — A jury found a Mercer County man guilty Thursday of three counts of first-degree sexual assault and 50 counts of possession of child pornography.

A jury deliberated for more than four hours before returning the guilty verdict against John Spaulding, 41, of Montcalm. 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.

Prosecutors also argued that Spaudling arranged for a sexual encounter with a 3-year-old child at a Bluefield hotel.

Spaudling faces between 25 to 100 years in prison on first-degree sexual assault convictions due to the age of the child, according to Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler.

Spaulding was found not guilty on three other charges of first-degree sexual assault.

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.

 

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