Jury: Woman Guilty Of Child Sex Abuse Should Get Life Term

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia jury that found a woman guilty of sexually abusing and making child pornography of her 2-year-old son recommended she serve two life sentences plus 10 years in prison.

The Montgomery County jury took only an hour to convict Kayla Nicole Thomas on Wednesday and just minutes to make a sentencing recommendation, The Roanoke Times reported.

Circuit Court Judge Mike Fleenor will determine whether to accept the jury’s recommendation or impose a different sentence at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 23.

Witnesses explained in the day-long trial how Thomas sexually abused Steven Dale Meek II in January 2019 at the request of her boyfriend, McKenzie Kyle Hellman. The toddler died about a week later due to injuries from another incident, according to testimony at other hearings related to the case. Hellman is accused of killing the boy.

Thomas admitted on the witness stand that she performed sex acts with her son and recorded the abuse on her phone. She sent five 30-second clips to Hellman, who was in a bedroom on the other side of the mobile home they shared in Christiansburg.

The 27-year-old said she abused her son because she was terrified that her boyfriend would harm her, the boy and the child she was pregnant with at the time. Thomas testified that Hellman became angry with her after a pregnancy checkup. He claimed she had sex with her doctor and told her to abuse Meek to make up for it, Thomas said.

The couple had dated for about two years and moved in together before Christmas in 2018, a few weeks prior to the abuse. Hellman, also 27, was not related to the 2-year-old.

Thomas was convicted on charges of inanimate object sexual penetration, forcible sodomy, making child pornography and distributing or electronically transmitting child pornography.

In March, another jury found Hellman guilty on child sex and pornography charges. It recommended he be sentenced to two life sentences plus 45 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 29. Hellman is also expected to stand trial starting Aug. 10 on charges of second-degree murder and child abuse related to Meek’s death.