A King George jury Wednesday recommended six life sentences plus 30 years for a man convicted of molesting multiple boys between 1988 and 2008.

Michael Wayne Stephens, 53, of Culpeper was convicted of six counts of sodomy and six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. The jury suggested the maximum penalty on each charge at the end of a three-day trial in King George Circuit Court.

A former King George resident, Stephens was arrested in September after an adult male claimed that Stephens sexually assaulted him when the victim was a child. Four more people came forward after that, saying they were molested as children by Stephens when they were between the ages of six and their late teens. The victims are all relatives or former foster children of Stephens’.

It was the second three-day jury trial Stephens has had in King George over the past month. The first ended in a mistrial when the jury learned information they weren’t supposed to hear during the testimony of the last prosecution witness.

Four of the five victims testified again during this week’s trial about the abuse they suffered from Stephens. Stephens’ defense was that all of the victims were lying, something the jury clearly didn’t believe.

A separate trial involving the fifth victim is scheduled for May. Stephens’ formal sentencing on this week’s convictions will be set sometime after that.

This week’s trial went forward in spite of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Judge Michael McKenney instituted precautions that included limiting the number of people in the courtroom, spreading out the jurors in the courtroom instead of having them all sit in the jury box and having the room sanitized during breaks.

Attorney George Wooditch is representing Stephens.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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