Fourth District Court Judge Daniel Ellender imposed sentencing on a local man convicted of five counts of aggravated rape and four counts of cruelty to a juvenile Tuesday afternoon.
The mandated sentence for aggravated rape is life at hard labor without the benefit of probation or parole. Ellender sentenced Wesley Ricks to five life sentences, with two to run consecutive and three to run concurrent, which means Ricks will serve one life sentence and then serve a second life sentence. The three remaining sentences will run concurrent with the second life behind bars.
On the sentencing for cruelty to a juvenile, Ellender imposed the maximum sentence, which is 10 years at hard labor, on each count. Two counts will run consecutive to the life sentence and two counts will run concurrent.
"I don't think any sentence is harsh enough for you," Ellender said after sentencing Ricks to two life terms plus 20 years.
A Morehouse Parish jury deliberated only 38 minutes in February before finding Wesley Ricks guilty on all counts in connection with sexual assaults involving juvenile victims. He was convicted on five counts of aggravated rape and four counts of cruelty to a juvenile in a three-day trial before Judge Ellender.
The abuses took place between 2009 and 2012. Testimony in the case proved that Ricks threatened to kill the girls’ mother and grandmother if they told anyone of the abuse.
Ricks was charged following complaints filed with the Bastrop Police Department. Detective Eric Newnum, Sgt. Marvin Holmes and assistant police chief Bubba McDuffy worked leads in the case that led to Ricks being taken into custody in Miami Beach, Fla. by the U.S. Marshall Service in April 2013.
After being extradited back to stand trial, Ricks told Judge Stephens Winters that he would decline being represented by a court-appointed attorney. After determining Ricks was competent enough to represent himself, Winters appointed Monroe attorney Carl Cooper from the Indigent Defender Board to assist Ricks at trial.
In short order, Ricks filed motions seeking to remove both Winters and assistant district attorney Steve Sylvester from the case.
With the conviction, Sylvester kept alive his unbeaten streak since coming to Morehouse Parish for District Attorney Jerry Jones.
“Steve hasn’t lost a case since he’s been here,” Jones said. “He’s an outstanding attorney. The people of Morehouse Parish are well served with Steve representing them.”