After deliberating for more than four hours, a jury convicted a Nevada man of 22 counts Tuesday for videotaping himself sexually assaulting a toddler, CNN affiliates report.
Chester Arthur Stiles, 38, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was convicted of lewdness with a child, sexual assault with a minor, attempted sexual assault with a minor and other related charges. He showed no reaction as the verdict was read after more than four hours of jury deliberations, according to KLAS. Sentencing was set for May 8. The crime triggered a national manhunt and search for the girl when the tape surfaced in 2007. Jurors in Stiles’ trial viewed the videotape, but the judge would not allow members sitting in the gallery to view it, and a screen was put up to block the jury box, said Michael Sommermeyer, spokesman for Clark County, Nevada, courts. Some members of the media were allowed to view the tape as well, but the judge did not want the reactions of reporters or the public to influence jurors, he said. The charges also related to another girl who Stiles was accused of sexually assaulting on videotape. The tape was given to authorities in September 2007 by a man who said he had found it in the desert five months before. On it, police found images of the small girl being sexually assaulted. After attempting unsuccessfully to find out the girl’s identity, authorities turned to the media for help and released a picture of the girl, and the case drew nationwide attention. She was found in October 2007. An attorney for her mother said she was 7 years old and safe and healthy. The rape occurred before the girl’s third birthday, while she was in the care of a baby-sitter her mother had hired, he said. The mother did not know the girl had been victimized. After the girl was found, authorities asked CNN and other news organizations to stop showing her picture.
Potential jurors asked about sex tape
KTNV: Local coverage
KLAS: Local coverage
In an appearance on “The Dr. Phil Show,” the girl’s mother said the girl has no recollection of the assault. Stiles, a resident of Pahrump, Nevada, was arrested in a traffic stop in October 2007. Police said at the time they pulled Stiles’ car over because it had no license plate, and became suspicious when the driver displayed an expired California license with a photo that did not match his appearance. Stiles eventually admitted who he was and that he was being sought, authorities said. The man who turned the tape over to authorities, Darrin Tuck, faced criminal charges because of the delay in turning it over, during which authorities alleged he showed it to others. A judge gave Tuck a one-year suspended sentence and three years of probation in April after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct a public officer, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He initially had faced a felony count of possession of child pornography.