Pictured: Michael Wheeler (Courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)
JEFFERSON COUNTY – A 49-year-old Mt. Vernon pleaded guilty Tuesday morning in Jefferson County Court to seven of nine child sex crime charges against him that will likely result in a prison sentence for the rest of his life.
Michael Wheeler, arrested in the case last summer, is now scheduled to be sentenced in the case on March 2 following the open plea he filed Tuesday.
According to Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun, Wheeler pleaded open to Counts 3 through 9, which include five Class X felony charges for child pornography that must be served consecutively and could result in sentences of between 30 and 150 years in prison.
The two Class 2 felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child under the age of 13 could fetch sentences of between 3 and 7 years in prison. Featherstun previously explained that Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Wheeler on the two counts sexual assault stemming from two reported victims and bail was set at $2 million. He was later charged in an indictment with the other offenses.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Detective Bobby Wallace says Wheeler was taken into custody after the sheriff’s office received a complaint and an image of child pornography was seized from an electronic device.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Julie Kozuszek.