A federal jury deliberated for 53 minutes Thursday afternoon before convicting a year-old Memphis man of charges alleging that he drove to Conway on Oct. When Michael Willins, then 38, parked his black Nissan at a Conway apartment complex that evening, having just driven for three hours and ingested a Cialis pill, his walk up the stairs to what he believed was the woman's second-floor apartment was abruptly halted by Faulkner County sheriff's deputies.
The deputies, who found condoms in Willins' pocket, some lubricant and a "strap-on" penis in his car, informed him that there was no woman or girl. It turned out that in more than s of s he had exchanged over the few days with what he believed was a woman offering her daughter for sex, he was actually talking to a male undercover sheriff's deputy.
The deputy had responded to an ad Willins posted on Craigslist saying he was "looking for really taboo female. Soon, Willins was facing federal charges of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity and travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
The first charge applies to anyone 18 and older who solicits someone younger than 15 to engage in sexual conduct that under Arkansas law would constitute sexual indecency with or second-degree sexual assault.
The second charge applies to an adult who intends to have sex with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 who is at least four years younger than the adult. Attorney Kristin Bryant told the six men and six women on the jury in her closing arguments.
Willins' attorney, Jack Lassiter of Little Rock, referred to his client's testimony earlier in the day, saying, "He told you he never intended to have sexual relations with this fictitious minor. Lassiter noted that in the s Willins exchanged with the online persona, he thought he was talking to a year-old woman and never thought he was talking to the girl herself.
Prosecutors said it didn't matter, pointing to U. District Judge Kristine Baker's instructions to jurors that an enticement charge applies not only to direct contact with a minor, but also to contact with an adult in an effort to persuade or coerce activity with a minor. During a two-day trial, Bryant and Assistant U. Attorney Joan Shipley presented testimony from Eric Woodward, an investigator for the sheriff's office who took over the case after the investigator who created the online persona left for another job. Jurors were shown excerpts from the online conversation in which Willins and the "mother" discussed their sexual fantasies, with Willins repeatedly asking the woman to give him a "golden shower," or urinate on him, and to consider having sex with a dog.
Throughout the conversation, Willins asked numerous questions about what the girl liked, what she had done already and what he would be allowed to do to her, and asked for a photograph of her. He sent photographs of himself fully clothed, and the officer sent photographs of a fully clothed female sheriff's deputy and another woman with -like look.
Lassiter asked the judge to instruct the jury on entrapment, arguing that the undercover officer encouraged Willins' interest in having sex with a girl and persuaded him to drive to Conway. But Shipley argued that to use the entrapment defense, Willins "has to show that the government led him down a path that he has never been down before.
She said Willins' testimony that he suffers from a sex addiction was at odds with his claim that "the government has put any of these ideas in his head. Baker denied the request, citing case law indicating that "the evidence here doesn't meet the level of inducement necessary" to offer the defense.
In closing arguments, Shipley noted that Willins got a one-pill prescription for Cialis, an erectile dysfunction drug, filled just before he left Memphis that day. She also reminded jurors of his online words promising to "take care" of the divorced mom and child, to the point of moving to Arkansas if the woman wanted him to.
Lassiter said some of Willins' words merely involved "role playing," and that he was a well-respected member of his community who has even coached youth baseball and basketball teams. Bryant responded by telling jurors, "He didn't need to drive three hours to have sex with an adult.
He drove three hours from Memphis to Conway, Ark. Print Headline: Man convicted of driving to central Arkansas to seek sex with woman, her .
Man convicted of driving to central Arkansas to seek sex with woman, her child by Linda Satter August 2, at a. ZIP: