WALLACE — In a jam-packed Law Day on April 10, Judge Scott Wayman addressed the criminal cases of more than 30 individuals at the Shoshone County Courthouse.
The most notable of the cases seen on Wednesday was the sentencing of William J. Newell Sr., 63, who plead guilty in 2018 to one count of sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 16 years old.
Newell was arrested in July 2017 when he was initially charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor (involving two separate 9-year-old girls) and one count of failing to register his change of address (as a sex offender).
Shoshone County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Benjamin Allen explained that the state and defense presented their points concerning the length of his sentence.
To start the proceedings, the mother of the victims in this case took the stand and made a statement to the court outlining how the defendants actions affected them. The state then outlined Newell’s significant criminal history that included prior cases from Oregon and California involving sexual misconduct with minors and multiple violations for failing to register as a sex offender.
Allen argued that “Newell’s deviant sexual behaviors and pattern of conduct are consistent with typical sex offender grooming behavior — that William Newell is a sexual predator who must be imprisoned in order to ensure this does not happen to anyone else.”
Defense attorney Michael Horrocks countered Allen’s point by arguing that Newell had already sufficiently satisfied the goals of sentencing based on the amount of jail time he has already served. Based on this, he asked for Newell to be released and placed on supervised probation.
Following final statements from both sides, Judge Wayman decided to go with the prosecution’s recommendation in this case and handed down a unified 20-year prison sentence (10 years fixed, 10 years indeterminate).
The length of the prison sentence was significant, considering Newell’s advanced age and poor physical health (currently bound to a wheelchair for transportation).
Allen stated later that he was pleased with the judge’s ruling.
“The defendant needed to be sentenced to the custody of the department of corrections (prison) for a lengthy period to ensure the protection of society and act as a deterrent to others in the community.”