On Friday, April 19, 2019, Taney County Associate Circuit Court Judge R. Tiffany Yarnell sentenced JUSTIN A. BALDWIN, d/o/b 5-28-1986, to seven (7) years in prison for the class D felony of statutory sodomy in the second degree. Baldwin had pleaded guilty in January of this year, but sentencing was delayed until after two sentencing hearings. At the first these hearings, the victim presented a statement describing the severe and lasting impact of the crime on her mental health over the last two years.
By pleading guilty to the offense, Baldwin admitted that he had committed an act of sodomy on the victim in the spring of 2017. She was 14 years old at the time, and Baldwin was over twice her age. He had access to the child because he was considered a close family friend.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Baldwin confessed to having sexual contact with the child, despite knowing her young age. Baldwin attempted to shift a degree of responsibility to the child. He also blamed his conduct partly on his consumption of alcohol.
At sentencing, the defense requested probation. They presented evidence that Baldwin was still employed with a local business, whose owner testified that Baldwin would have a job and place to stay if allowed to remain free in the community. The Taney County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office opposed probation. After considering both arguments, the Court denied probation and sentenced Baldwin to prison.
The class D felony of statutory sodomy in the second degree is punishable by a sentence of two (2) to seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections or a term of up to one (1) year in the county jail.