KILGORE, Texas — A Kansas man was sentenced to six years for sexual assault of a child in Kilgore.
On Aug. 8, 2022, Cody Wayner Crutcher, 22, of Kansas, pled guilty in the 188th District Court to two counts of sexual assault of a minor. According to documents, Crutcher waived a jury and asked Judge Scott Novy to decide his punishment.
In Dec. 2021, Elected District Attorney of Upshur County Billy W. Byrd was appointed to the case against Crutcher. The Gregg County District Attorney's Office had recused themselves from the case due to threats the father of the victim had made against those involved in the prosecution and investigation of the case, according to documentation.
The case was later dismissed and had the charges updated to two counts of sexual assault against a family member; the victim was 14 at the time of the crime, which took place in July 2020, while the defendant was 20.
The evidence trial began on Aug. 17, 2022, where the State of Texas called upon the responding deputy, the victim, a pre-trial probation officer, and the victim's trauma counselor for the last two years. From evidence, it was presented that in April 2022, Crutcher was served a search warrant for a DNA cheek swab for the use in a rape kit that was performed on the victim following a report on July 17, 2020.
Documents stated that the DNA test taken from Crutcher matched the DNA found in the rape kit. Crutcher, when under cross examination, admitted that he had learned of his father living in Kilgore while he was enlisted in the National Guard in Kansas. When Crutcher visited his father and family in March 2020, he decided to move to Kilgore permanently.
As the evidence trial continued, Crutcher later admitted to grooming the victim, and disclosed to the victim that he had "developed feelings for her beyond that" of a family member and began a sexual relationship with her, the document states.
The range of punishment was set between 5-99 years or life in prison, but Crutcher was only eligible for probation by the judge.
Crutcher was sentenced to six years in prison on both counts to run concurrently, and was placed into custody in the courtroom after being on bond since July 18, 2020. Crutcher will additionally be registered as a sex offender for life.