Joshua Winters Sentenced

Casper, Wyoming - It was a case that shocked Casper and the state of Wyoming, as a young carnival worker escorted a 5 year old from a local bowling alley and raped him near the North Platte River. Casper Police finding the child wandering near the fairgrounds trying to piece together a timeline.  A jury convicting Joshua Winters in a matter of hours. The judge sending a message with a sentence he handed down.

Winters was convicted in May of this year after a four day trial. The testimony during the trial became graphic as the story on both sides were told. Winters is back in court to receive his punishment.

The case of Wyoming vs. Joshua Winters made headlines from the day it was reported. Much of the community disgusted by the details. The prosecution asking for the maximum amount of time in this kidnapping and molestation case.  In the end the judge saying because the victim's age, aggravated circumstances were a factor in the case as he sentenced Winters to 80 to 115 years in prison.

“I think the judge considered the victim impact, in the things he cited. The victim impact, the harm to a 5 year old child. And just the testimony and the dangerous nature of this offense, and the need to protect the community from this sort of thing,” said Kevin Taheri, the prosecutor in the case.

The mother of the victim, fighting back tears as she spoke slowly but firmly.

"I hope he realizes what he's done to this community...especially my little boy." Finishing with "He's going to have to live with that." Her statement helping drop the gavel.

“There was physical evidence presented. There was DNA evidence and there was testimony of the child. The jury had a lot of evidence to consider,” said Taheri. “It’s hard to speculate what they felt was the most important.”

The sentence, broken down was 50-70 years on the kidnapping charges and 30-45 years on sexual assault charges, had one character witness for Winters angry over it's fairness.

cg: jim arcand / character witness

“Why should one state throw you in jail for 60 years and another state 10 years and probation,” said Jim Arcand, Winters’ character witness. “There should be more uniformity.”

Jim Arcand, who claims to be a former lawyer from Massachusetts, made his way to Casper to speak as a character witness for Winters; asking for probation and suspended jail time pointing out Winters, himself, had been a victim of child abuse growing up.

“As a child he was 14. But he had been molested 3 times by some of his adopted siblings. It almost became a rite of passage in that dysfunctional family,” said Arcand.

In case that fueled emotional rants on social media, two lives here will likely never be the same.

“It’s never good that these things happen, and hopefully we do feel that at least this part of it is behind everybody now and they can move on from this part of it,” said Taheri.

In his own words, Winters spoke with remorse as he apologized saying "I know deep down in my heart, I would never hurt a child." Citing his own experience with abuse as a child. Winters’ friend from Massachusetts tells us he plans to appeal the case.