Crime & Courts

They met on ‘World of Warcraft’ and she left to meet in Kansas. He’s going to prison.

Tommy Lee Jones, 30, of Wichita was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a release. He was convicted by a jury on four counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
Tommy Lee Jones, 30, of Wichita was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a release. He was convicted by a jury on four counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Courtesy of the Kansas Department of Corrections

After a Kansas man and Pennsylvania girl met on "World of Warcraft," they wanted to meet in real life in Wichita. But after she bought a bus ticket, the man — who had been convicted of raping a child — was sentenced to life in prison, officials said.

Tommy Lee Jones, 30, of Wichita was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Tuesday, District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a release. He was convicted by a jury on four counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Jones and a 16-year-old girl met while playing "World of Warcraft," a multiplayer online role-playing video game, Bennett said.

Wichita police and Sedgwick County sheriff's detectives investigated after an FBI agent contacted Jones' parole officer in November 2014, court records show.

The FBI agent told the parole officer that Jones was involved with a 16-year-old Pennsylvania girl, court documents state. Law enforcement stopped the girl late at night on Nov. 8 after she purchased a bus ticket to Wichita. Jones later told investigators that the girl said she stole her mother's credit card to buy the bus ticket.

The girl and Jones both told investigators they met while playing "World of Warcraft" online. They also video chatted through Skype.

Jones said the girl turned their Skype conversations sexual and started taking off her clothes, but said he never saw her naked, court records state. Jones told investigators that he would masturbate after their Skype video chats.

The girl denied sending Jones self-produced pornography. But when a Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office detective searched his phone, a folder with the girl's first name had several photos of her, court records show. The girl's mom said they were taken in her bathroom.

At least two photos showed the girl naked except for a black shirt pulled over her shoulders, the documents state.

Sometime before the girl left home to meet Jones in real life in Wichita, she had told him she was 17, but she later told him she was 16, court records show. She thought he was 26, but he was actually 27 at the time.

Jones told investigators that he thought the girl was older than 18. But in a search of Jones' Skype, detectives found a conversation between him and another person two days after the girl bought the bus ticket. He said in the messages that he was worried about her because she was 17 and he had not heard from her after she left home for Wichita.

Jones had been on parole after he was convicted of raping a girl younger than 14 and aggravated indecent liberties with a child in Sumner County in 2009, Kansas Department of Corrections records show. He was 20 when the 2008 offenses happened.

The prior and new convictions together triggered the "aggravated habitual offender" statute, which led to the life sentence without the possibility of parole, Bennett said.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)

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