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Pike County jury hands down two life sentences plus 102 years for sex crimes

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Lavoyce Wilder

By John Balch

News-Leader staff

A Pike County jury has found an Amity man guilty of two charges of rape and multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual indecency with a child and sentenced him to two life sentences plus 102 years in the state prison.

The three-day trial of Lavoyce Wilder, 54, started Feb. 16 and ended Friday, Feb. 18 and involved a case that was initially filed in Pike County on Nov. 26, 2019. Wilder was initially charged four counts each of rape, sexual indecency with a child and two counts of transportation of minors for prohibited sexual conduct. The charges against Wilder were amended twice with the last time being Jan. 21, 2022 when prosecutors settled on three counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of rape, two counts of sexual indecency with a child and one count of second-degree sexual assault after more victims came forward.

The jury – made up initially of six men and six women – found Wilder guilty on all charges expect the second-degree sexual assault charge. When the jury prepared to go back for deliberations Friday afternoon, a female juror was allowed to remove herself from the proceedings and she was replaced by a male alternate juror.

Wilder was given the maximum sentence on each charge – two life sentences for the rape charges, 30 years on each of the sexual assault charges and six years on each charge of sexual indecency with a child. The jurors found Wilder not guilty on the one count of second-degree sexual assault.

The State of Arkansas was resented by Prosecuting Attorney Erin Hunter and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alwin Smith.

“I want to commend the faithful service of our Pike County jury members for this great verdict,” Hunter said. “This was a long fought emotional case in which a serial child sexual abuser received justice. All of the brave victims who came forward and ultimately put Mr. Wilder away for his horrendous crimes are heroes and deserve our prayers fro continued healing.”

Hunter also thanks the Arkansas State Police for it investigative work as well as the Pike County Sheriff’s Department. “Without the long hours of investigative work on this case by terrific officers of both departments, these young ladies would have never received the justice that all of them waited so long fo and deserved.”

Wilder’s crimes involved female victims as young as six years old.

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