RUSSELL COUNTY, Tenn. - It was a nearly 12-hour long trial that ended in the conviction of Castlewood, Virginia high school students Kenneth Otto Purkey, Jonathan Corey Lasley and Nicholas Wythe Kiser, who were charged with sexually assaulting a classmate.
Each were tried as adults and found guilty of two felony charges. "One [charge] was object sexual penetration, the other was conspiracy to commit object penetration," said Brian Patton, the Commonwealth's Attorney. Click here to read more about the charges.
Patton says the defendant claimed the sexual assault was 'just a joke.' "The defendant's statements in their arguments were they were all the time pulling each other's pants down and picking at each other, doing the typical locker room pranks," he said.
However, Patton says this so-called joke was downright bullying and tells us the defendants never really acted as if they understood the severity of their actions.
We learned Nick Kiser was the only defendant of the three to take the stand. The Commonwealth's Attorney tells News 5 Kiser said he wasn't ashamed of anything he had done and offered no apology.
Patton says the victim has 'mental limitations' and tells us the evidence of that helped in the case. "In speaking for the court, the judge, when he found them guilty, he stated on the record that looking at this group, the victim in this case is the obvious target for this type of behavior because he's smaller than the rest of them and he has more mental limitations than the rest of them," said Patton.
Patton goes on to say the three boys are facing five years to life in prison. "Unfortunately for both sides, it's going to be a sad result for both of them. The victim will have to deal with it the rest of his life and now the three aggressors are going to have to deal with the consequence of their actions for the rest of their lives," said Patton.
Those were the same sentiments of those around the community we spoke to.
We also spoke with the father of the victim. He told us he was happy with the outcome of the trial, but had no further comment.
The boys will go back to court for sentencing on September 12. Until then, they will be held in the Highlands Detention Center.
Patton tells us aside from the prison time, the boys will also be listed as sex offenders for life.
- Updated Police: Car plows into parade crowd in New Orleans; 12 hurt
- VA Gubernatorial Candidate campaigning in Southwest Virginia
- Mall at Johnson City full of race cars for season preview
- Final contract signed to transfer Sullivan North to Kingsport City Schools
- Gov. amends SWVa. lawmaker's bill to raise fine for driving slowly in left lane