Recognizing signs of physical child abuse
A Muscogee County Superior Court judge sentenced Kashonda Miles to two life sentences Thursday afternoon in a shocking case alleging she and her husband used a 13-year-old girl like a sex slave in the summer of 2012.
Miles showed no emotion when the sentence on her child molestation conviction was handed down by Judge Maureen Gottfried. The victim, now a 19-year-old college student, testified at trial last month and was in the courtroom as the judge announced the sentence. Miles and her 35-year-old husband, Marcus Anthony Miles, used the girl as a sex slave in 2012.
Miles’ reaction was in stark contract to when the jury verdict was handed down Aug. 23. As she was being escorted from the courtroom by deputies, Miles yelled at the victim, “You lied on me! They didn’t have any evidence! I didn’t do anything!”
Her husband pleaded guilty to child molestation on Nov. 13, 2017. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with nine to serve, and is currently in the Coffee Correctional Facility in Nicholls. He did not testify in his wife’s trial.
In addition, Kashonda Miles was sentenced to 20 years each on two courts of child molestation, 20 years to one count of first-degree cruelty to children and 10 years on one count of attempted child molestation. All of the sentences are to run concurrently, Gottfried ordered.
Miles, 40, will be eligible for parole in 30 years.
Kashonda Miles’ attorney, Stacey Jackson, argued that the judge should not punish his client for taking the case to trial and asked for the minimum sentence of 25 years. Assistant District Attorney Michelle De Los Santos pushed the court for the most harsh sentences.
“I just don’t think a person should be punished for exercising their right to go to trial,” Jackson told the court minutes before the sentencing. “The fact that her husband got nine years, compared to life for her is punishing someone for going to trial.”
That is not how De Los Santos saw it.
“In no way is what the state recommending punitive,” he said. “Mr. Miles did accept responsibility for his actions. The state made the same offer to Mrs. Miles. She knew back in November it was no longer a situation where she had the same options as her husband. She was not remorseful and never accepted responsibility for anything she did. ... She is a predator and deserves to be incarcerated for the rest of her life.”
The judge said she agreed with Jackson that going to trial should not result in additional punishment, but then she turned the argument around on the veteran criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.
“The flipside to that is the court becomes more aware of the facts in the case,” Gottfried said. “This is not the picture of a loving, caring person that came out in court today, but it’s the picture of a predator.”
Gottfried mentioned the victim, a high school honor graduate who is now attending college and working, in her sentencing.
“The victim in this case has done well for herself, but not all victims do,” the judge said as she looked at Miles. “What I will remember is what she went through at your hands.”
Kashonda Miles briefly addressed the court before sentencing and did not mention the victim or take any responsibility for her crimes.
“I am so blessed they are here to support me,” she said of her family, which sat behind her during the sentencing. “I want to go with them.”
That didn’t happen and as she was being led from the courtroom by deputies, Miles waved to her family, then blew a kiss as she was taken out the side door.
During the trial, the victim gave detailed testimony of sordid sex acts she said the couple forced her into when she stayed with the family friends between June 1 and Aug. 1, 2012, including her being drugged before a four-man so-called “Mandingo party” on July 4, after which she woke up in a kiddie pool filled with fluid akin to baby oil.
She also recounted Miles’ helping her dress up as if they were going out, before she was presented to a well-dressed woman who came into the bedroom and told her to lie back on the bed and spread her legs. When she refused, Miles used a Taser to knock her out, burning her leg.
She said the couple held her like a prisoner, installing a locked barrier in the home to confine her there. Because her destitute, drug-addicted mother could not afford to pay the couple to keep her, they told her she should feel obligated to give them oral sex and to have intercourse with Miles’ husband. In August 2012, her mother came from Albany, Ga., to get her, but showed no interest in hearing what had happened, the victim said.
Their relationship deteriorated until the mother kicked her out, and an aunt brought her home to Columbus, to live with her father.
Neither parent had shown much interest in the child, the aunt testified. In 2013, the victim went into diabetic shock, and woke up in the hospital disoriented and fearing she was back at Miles’ home. While hospitalized, she learned she had a sexually transmitted disease.
That’s when she told her aunt about the sexual abuse, and the aunt took her to the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in downtown Columbus, where agents sent her for a forensic interview with a counselor at Children’s Treehouse. In November 2013, authorities raiding the Miles’ Monmouth Drive home found various sex toys akin to what the victim had described seeing there, but much of what she recounted remained uncorroborated, and Miles flatly denied the accusations on the witness stand.
Staff writer Tim Chitwood contributed to this report.