LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada jury found a man guilty Tuesday of
sexually assaulting two little girls in separate 2003 incidents,
including an attack on a 2-year-old that he videotaped.
Chester Arthur Stiles, 38, who remained sitting, showed no
emotion and stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read. Stiles
faces multiple sentences of life in prison at sentencing May 8.
The jury of nine men and three women deliberated about four
hours after hearing six days of often painful testimony from 16
prosecution witnesses. Stiles' defense lawyers called no witnesses,
and Stiles chose not to testify.
"I believe justice was done in this case," Prosecutor Jim
Sweetin said after Stiles was convicted on all 22 felony counts: 10
counts of lewdness with a child under the age of 14, 11 counts of
sexual assault with a minor under 14, and one count of attempted
sexual assault with a minor under 14.
Nineteen of the charges stemmed from acts Stiles videotaped of
himself with the 2-year-old girl sometime from April to August
The jury somberly viewed the graphic homemade VHS tape late
Friday in a hushed courtroom where the judge excluded the public
but allowed five news reporters to remain.
Outside the presence of the jury, Clark County District Court
Judge Jennifer Togliatti called the recorded images "clearly child
pornography in its most graphic form."
Deputy public defender Stacey Roundtree asked jurors to focus on
shortcomings in the prosecution evidence and inconsistencies in
"There is no medical evidence of sexual abuse in this case.
There is no DNA evidence," Roundtree said, adding that authorities
acknowledged that the videotape turned in to authorities was a
copy, not an original recording.
"It could have been manipulated," Roundtree insisted.
Prosecutors Sweetin and Mary Kay Holthus said that while the
2-year-old didn't testify, the video spoke for her.
The child is now 8. Her mother testified she has no recollection
of the encounter, which occurred when she lived with a friend's
family in an apartment in Las Vegas. The friend's mother was
"The videotape shows exactly what happened, doesn't it?"
Sweetin said, adding that it showed "the very same acts that in
fact (the 6-year-old) says were committed on her."
Three charges stemmed from allegations that Stiles molested a
6-year-old girl while he and his girlfriend spent two nights as
guests at the girl's Las Vegas home in December 2003.
That encounter was not videotaped. But the girl, now 11 and
living in Washington state, testified that she awoke before dawn
one morning with Stiles kneeling next to her bed and fondling her.
The names of the girls are being withheld because The Associated
Press usually does not identify victims of sexual abuse. Sweetin
said the girls were "incapable of resisting or understanding the
nature of the conduct."
Clark County District Attorney David Roger said Stiles was never
offered a plea deal before trial, which he acknowledged was
difficult for witnesses, families and jurors because of the nature
of the offenses and the age of the victims.
"It's important for parents to open their eyes widely and be
aware there are child predators out there looking for young
victims," Roger said.
Roundtree said Stiles was "a man full of sorrow and sometimes
anger" as she tried to soften the "inflammatory" way she said he
was portrayed by prosecutors.
"Nothing we can say will erase the images of the video you saw
last week," she told the jury, but added, "You have no way of
knowing what Mr. Stiles meant when he said, 'I'm a monster."'
She referred to a letter in which Stiles recounted his own
sexual abuse as a child, apologized for his actions, and appeared
to acknowledge what was on the videotape.
"What I've done there's no making up for," said one letter
Stiles addressed to four former girlfriends. "Somehow being abused
made my conscience a smaller voice than it should have been. I'm a
"Please! Please let all guilt die with me. Chester."
The video surfaced in September 2007 when an ex-convict and
admitted methamphetamine user turned it in to Nye County sheriff's
deputies in Pahrump, saying he found it in the desert about 60
miles west of Las Vegas.
Authorities released photo images from the tape to locate the
child in Las Vegas, and mounted a nationwide manhunt before Stiles
was arrested October 2007 during a routine police traffic stop in
The sexual assault charges carry possible sentences of life in
prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years. The lewdness
charges can bring life with parole eligibility after 10 years. The
charge of attempted sexual assault on a child carries a mandatory
prison term of two to 30 years.
Stiles also faces federal charges of producing child
pornography, which could carry a sentence of 15 to 30 years in
federal prison. Trial is scheduled April 6 in Las Vegas.
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