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The result of the interview conducted by Dutton — and ordered by the County Attorney's Office — was that Kevin was only able to identify one solid "time anchor": a movie Nelson had taken him to see before one of the times he was abused. Mitchell referred to it as "the Porky's incident."
"Tell me what you remember about that movie," Dutton asked Kevin during the interview.
"I want to say it was a, well, I'm pretty sure it was Porky's," Kevin responded. "He let me pick out the movie, and we went to see Porky's."
Porky's came out in 1982, when Kevin was 15. Because that was the only instance for which he could give a specific enough account to satisfy prosecutors, the six class-two felonies on which Nelson initially was indicted could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, according to Mitchell.
"Then [in the 1980s], as now, there's a great dividing line between the ages of 14 and 15. If a victim is 14 or younger, it's a class-two [felony]. If a victim is 15 or older, it's a class-six," she says. "It became very clear that not only was it not on the border [of 14 or 15] but that it was probably within him being 15 or older — [even] 16 or 17. Specifically, one of the anchors he gave us was the Porky's incident, and that makes him absolutely 15, because we looked up when that was released in the United States."
Kevin's account of "the Porky's incident" is about as specific as Kevin's account of other instances of abuse — for example, his time anchor of knowing abuse occurred his freshman year of high school "before Thanksgiving" — when he would definitely have been 14 or younger.
Mitchell said because Kevin couldn't narrow this down to a specific date, the allegation would be difficult to prove in court.
Kevin's wife is aghast: "They took away six counts of sexual molestation that were the charges that we wanted instead of misconduct with a minor — even though we had the proof."
Because prosecutors didn't think they could prove Kevin was 14 at the time of the abuse, Reames offered Nelson a plea deal: in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of sexual conduct with a minor — class-six felonies — Reames would recommend his sentence not exceed one year in county jail, and three years' probation.
"[Prosecutors] had told us, 'This is the plea agreement we can do,'" Kevin's wife says. "They told us that the plea agreement [depends on] what the law was 30 years ago when this took place. That I understand. But [the year in jail] they told us [Nelson] would get, he didn't get."
The maximum penalty for class-six felony sexual conduct with a minor — under 1981 sentencing guidelines — was 1.875 years. Had Nelson been given the maximum sentence for each count — and a judge ruled that they run consecutively — Nelson could have been sentenced to nearly four years in prison.
But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Karen O'Connor sentenced Nelson to even less time than the year Reames had requested: six months in county jail and three years' probation.
Everyone involved in the case — the County Attorney's Office, the PPD, and the victim — agree on one thing: Nelson got off easy. The County Attorney's Office maintains Kevin and his family approved the plea deal.
David Nelson is scheduled to be released from county jail on November 5.