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6:30 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Man takes plea in child sex case to avoid possible 109-year sentence

PRESCOTT - Cody Wilson, facing a possible 109-year sentence if a jury finds him guilty of 32 counts related to sex with a minor, Wednesday accepted a plea agreement that could instead give him 10 years in prison followed by lifetime probation.

Wilson, 23, was originally indicted on 24 counts of sexual conduct with a minor plus eight counts associated with possession of sexual images and videos of a minor.

The deal to which he agreed consolidated charges from several victims. He pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual conduct with a minor under 18, plus two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; those charges are in reference to the sexual images. The prosecution agreed to drop the remaining charges.

The four sexual conduct charges are class 6 designated felonies, which come with a sentence of as long as 2 years each. The exploitation charges are class 2 felonies, with a penalty of up to 12.5 years in prison for each.

But under the agreement, both sides agreed that Wilson would receive no less than five years and no more than 10 years in prison, to be followed by lifetime probation.

His attorney, Damon Rossi, said he wanted to put on the record the fact that stipulated sentences are not binding on the court – that Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Celé Hancock is not required to accept the 5- to 10-year range.

"If the court rejects the plea for any stipulation, Mr. Wilson would have the right to withdraw from the plea," he said, and Hancock nodded.

She will sentence Wilson, who remains in custody without bond, on Sept. 21.