LB - Coldwell Banker 1019

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : regional May 26, 2016


12/7/2013 2:25:00 PM
McNeill could face 34 years in prison for child sex, kidnapping
Eric G. McNeill
Eric G. McNeill
By Scott Orr
Contributing Reporter/Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - A jury on Wednesday found aggravating factors in Eric G. McNeill's two convictions in a child sex trial and he could serve almost 34 years in prison.

McNeill, 65, was accused of sexual contact with three girls. One set of charges deals with a victim under 15 years old in 1986; a second with a victim over 15 in 1989; and the third a victim under 15 in 2011. Seven counts were dismissed throughout the course of the trial.

McNeill's case was featured on the "America's Most Wanted" television program in September 2012 and, based on tips authorities received, they determined he was in southern Oregon. On Sept. 19, 2012, U.S. Marshals spotted McNeill's vehicle at a roadside campground. With help from the Klamath Falls Police Department and Oregon State Police, they took him into custody without incident.

On Tuesday, the jury came back with two guilty verdicts, one for kidnapping and a second for sexual contact with a minor under 15. They deadlocked on 13 other counts, and Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock declared a mistrial on those charges.

Because the prosecution alleged that there were aggravating factors to his offenses, the six-man, six-woman jury took part Wednesday in the second phase of the trial, in which they decided whether the state could prove those aggravating factors.

Deputy County Attorney Steven Sisneros need to convince the jurors that the victims suffered emotional, physical or financial harm from the crimes. He called two witnesses, one for each count.

A relative of the youngest victim told the jury that the sexual conduct had an effect on both of them. The girl, she said, "knew her whole alphabet and could count to 20," but she began to regress as the abuse went on." Since testifying at the trial, the girl has started crying for no reason at random times.

The woman said she has had nightmares herself about "(McNeill) coming after (her)" and bad dreams about him "coming back and breaking in."

The adult kidnapping victim said she has "trust issues" that have contributed to the breakups of three marriages. She also said she experiences "night terrors," in which "I wake up (in the dream) and he's coming toward me with his hand up to cover my mouth."

When their testimony was complete, Sisneros said, "Was this a situation where everybody walks away unfazed? The state would argue, "no.'"

Defense attorney Bob Gundacker acknowledged that he was in an usual position: He had to convince the jury that McNeill's crimes were "no worse" than any similar crime.

"You have to ask yourself," he said, "is what you heard (from witnesses) worse than what you would inherently expect to hear when an adult molests a child?"

After about an hour of deliberation, the jury came back with decisions that McNeill should be eligible for the maximum sentences: 8.75 years for the kidnapping and 27 years on the child sex charge, classified as a dangerous crime against a child.

Judge Tina Ainley sent sentencing for Jan. 13. She will also hear the state's decision on whether it will re-try McNeill on the charges on which the jury hung.



Follow the reporter on Twitter @AZNewsguy.


Taylor Waste

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4750 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2956 views)

•   Cornville man charged with child molestation seeks plea (2875 views)

•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (2737 views)

•   Motorcycle rider suffers head injuries in crash (2195 views)





Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
HSE - Readers Choice 300x100
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Coldwell Banker 1019

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved