A Sedgwick County jury on Friday convicted a Wichita man on 17 of 20 felony charges that accused him of raping two Kansas City, Kan., girls after their mother checked them into an east Wichita hotel so the man could have sex with them.
The defendant, James Lamont Brown, 49, showed no emotion as District Judge Greg Waller read the verdicts shortly after 4:30 p.m. Waller set sentencing for Jan. 10.
Because of his extensive criminal record, Brown would have faced a mandatory sentence of life without parole if he had been convicted on just one of the 20 charges.
Brown was charged with 10 counts each of rape and aggravated human trafficking for having sex with the girls, who are now 14 and 15, at the Econo Lodge at 8302 E. Kellogg in 2010 and 2011. Some of the charges cover a time when the girls were 11 and 12 years old.
The girls’ mother pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated human trafficking and is facing a sentence of life without parole for 25 years. She testified this week that on at least five occasions, she sat on a motel bed and watched as Brown had sex with her daughters. The mother is not being named to protect the identity of her daughters.
Both girls testified that Brown had sex with them on multiple occasions after their mother drove them to Wichita. Brown denied having ever met the girls when he testified Thursday in his own behalf.
Jurors began deliberations shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday and were apparently close to reaching a verdict at 2:30 p.m. Friday when they asked for a read-back of some of the testimony of the girls. The read-back involved counts 13 and 14 – two human trafficking charges – that were filed in connection with a 2010 trip to Wichita. Neither girl could remember details of that trip, the read-back testimony showed, and the jury returned not guilty verdicts on both counts.
One of the girls testified Wednesday that Brown had sex with her every time her mother brought her to Wichita. The other girl said it happened every time but once – the once having come during her menstrual cycle. That was the apparent reason for the one not guilty verdict among the 10 rape counts.
Brown’s criminal record dates back to March 1985, when he was one of 18 men charged with sexually exploiting 13- to 15-year-old runaway girls in Wichita. He pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent liberties and no contest to promoting prostitution, and was placed on probation for two years.
Kansas Department of Corrections records show that from 1988 through 1992, Brown was convicted of four felonies – two drug charges and two charges of escape. He was released from prison in 2007 but remains on the state’s registered offender list because of a 2002 conviction for lewd and lascivious behavior involving a 12-year-old child.