POSTED: Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 6:48pm
UPDATED: Saturday, May 21, 2011 - 2:09pm
It is a case that dominated the headlines in East Texas for almost 4 years now.
The Mineola child sex ring case has come to an abrupt end.
6 of the 7 so-called Mineola Swingers will soon be free.
That is the result of a plea deal with Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.
And Bingham says, he did it for the kids.
DA Matt Bingham met with reporters after a 2 and a half hour proceeding in which 6 of the 7 people accused of forcing small children to perform sex acts on stage, agreed to a plea bargain that will essentially set them all free.
6 defendents…Patrick Kelly, Jamie Pittman, Shauntel Mayo, Rebecca Pittman, Jimmie Soames and Sheila Soames all pleaded guilty to one count of injury to a child for aiding a sex act between two children.
They were sentenced to time already served, which means they will be processed and set free.
Judge Jack Skeen was emotional at the conclusion.
The Soames’ daughter Stacey Snodgrass thinks the pleas were a case of expediency.
Bingham defended his decision as being in the best interest of the children who would have to testify.
He denied that the appeals Court reversals of two of the cases last year, and the criticism of his office played a roll.
But since the 6 won’t have to even register as sex offenders, was that trade worth the possibility that some might do it again?
A 7th defendant, Dennis Pittman is currently serving life in prison, and is appealing his conviction, and so was not included in the plead bargain.