WILCOX KIDNAPPING CONVICTIONS AND SENTENCE AFFIRMED ON APPEAL
LUBBOCK, Texas — The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed today the convictions and 480 month sentence of Lubbock, Texas, resident, Kenneth Michael Wilcox, 43. Wilcox was convicted following a jury trial in May 2009. At the trial, the government presented evidence that Wilcox took two girls (ages 14 and 11), and a boy (age 9) from Lubbock, telling their parents that he was taking them to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, and that they would stay in a hotel, order room service, and ride in a limousine. Wilcox’s son was supposed to accompany them on the trip, however, the son testified at trial that his father dropped him off with his mother in Amarillo, Texas, before Wilcox left the state with the children. Wilcox left Lubbock with the children on October 24, 2008.
Evidence showed that Wilcox took the children to southeast Oklahoma, near Idabel, and camped out in the woods in a tent with the children. Each of the three children testified that Wilcox scared them by telling them disturbing things about the people who lived in the area, including accounts of Wilcox’s friends, who he described as violent people who roamed the woods and liked to kidnap little girls, torture them, and eat them. Wilcox asked the girls if they would rather die or be sex slaves. Two of the children were located in Oklahoma on October 27, 2008, and Wilcox was arrested while driving with the third child in southeast Oklahoma on October 28, 2008.
In its written opinion, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all of the claimed points of error raised by Wilcox's attorneys, including: a claim that the trial court should have granted a change of venue; a claim that the trial court improperly restricted defense counsel from fully cross-examining a witness; a claim that the trial court should have instructed the jury to disregard a portion of the prosecutor's statement during closing arguments; a claim that the trial court improperly handled a question from the jury during deliberations; and a claim that at sentencing, the trial court erroneously applied a provision of the Sentencing Guidelines. In affirming all three counts of conviction, as well as the sentence imposed, the appellate court found that its review of the record and examination of the briefs revealed Wilcox's "perverse plot to manipulate and torment three children of very young and impressionable stations in life."
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Lubbock Police Department, and the McCurtain County, Oklahoma, Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven M. Sucsy and Amy Burch of the Lubbock, Texas, U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case.
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