North Vernon man receives 55-year prison term

A Jennings County man with prior child molesting convictions recently received a 55-year prison sentence in Jackson Circuit Court after he was convicted of three new counts of the same crime.

William Sheridan Wilder, 55, of North Vernon received that sentence from Jackson Circuit Judge Richard W. Poynter.

Wilder had been found guilty on the three Class A felony counts of child molesting involving a child less than 14 years of age during a one-day bench trial in early September.

On Tuesday, Poynter sentenced Wilder to 35 years for those convictions with the sentences to be served at the same time. An additional 20 years was added as an enhancement by Poynter to the first sentence because of Wilder’s two prior felony convictions.

On March 20, 2000, Wilder was sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison in Jennings Circuit Court for a conviction on a Class C felony charge of child molesting.

Then on Feb. 23, 2004, he was sentenced to three months and four days after being convicted in Jennings Circuit Court of a Class C felony charge of failure to register as a sex offender.

According to the probable cause affidavit signed by Seymour Detective Troy Munson, the incident that led to Wilder’s arrest and conviction stems from an investigation that began at 1:21 a.m. Jan. 25, 2014, when Seymour Officer Jeremy Soliday found a 13-year-old girl in a vehicle with Wilder and another man.

During later interviews with the girl, police were able to learn Wilder had sexual intercourse with the girl on New Year’s Eve 2013 or New Year’s Day 2014.

During depositions before the trial, the girl said Wilder had had intercourse with her on two other occasions in January 2014, Jackson County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant said. That’s when the two additional counts of child molesting were added.

Wilder received 359 days credit and 359 days good time credit for the time he spent in jail since his arrest in October 2014.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.