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Two child predators receive multiple life sentences in Tazewell County | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — Two child predators received multiple life sentences in Tazewell County Circuit Court on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

Joshua Adam Keen, 41, of Richlands, Virginia and Herbert Junior Sparks, 50, of North Tazewell, Virginia were sentenced in the Tazewell County Circuit Court after being found guilty of child sexual assault crimes earlier this year, announced Tazewell County Commonwealth’s Attorney J. Christopher Plaster.

Joshua Adam Keen was found guilty via a jury on February 21, 2024 on three counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13, two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child by a custodian, and one count of forcible sodomy of a child under 13 years of age. Keen also pleaded guilty to escaping custody after being transported to an area hospital and running out of the door and remaining at large for nearly a year.

Herbert Junior Sparks was found guilty by a judge on February 22, 2024 on two counts of child endangerment, two counts of rape of a child under the age of 13, two counts of sexual penetration with an object, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of forcible sodomy, two counts of indecent liberties of a child by a custodian, one count of producing or making child pornography, and one county of displaying child pornography or grooming video to child under the age of 13.

Keen received a life sentence and an additional 70 years in prison. Sparks received six life sentences and an additional 95 years in prison.

During the sentencing hearing for Keen, Kati Asbury, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney presented evidence by incorporating victim impact statements where one of the victims stated, “He (Keen) betrayed my trust and my innocence. I will never fully recover from what was done to me. I felt like I got the justice I have been waiting for, for so long.”

Additionally, Ms. Asbury argued for the maximum sentence, stating “No sentence, no amount of time will ever give them back what he took from them.”

During the sentencing hearing for Sparks, Ms. Asbury also argued for the maximum sentence, stating, “He deserves every day this court can give him.” Victim impact statements were introduced in this hearing as well. One victim told Sparks, “You are a monster, and in general, a terrible person.”

Another victim in this case told Sparks, “we thought we were getting a father, but instead we got a monster.” Sparks was defiant during the hearing. He rolled his eyes at the statements of the victims and also refused to participate in the preparation for his hearing.

The Tazewell County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office thanked the agencies that assisted in both cases and convictions: Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Richlands Police Department, Virginia State Police, the Department of Social Services, April Morefield and the CARE Center, Clinch Valley Medical Center, Ultra Health, Cumberland Mountain Community Services, and District 43 Probation and Parole Office.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kati Asbury prosecuted both cases. Chief Deputy Brandon Goins and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Phillip Foy assisted in prosecuting the cases.

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