A Billings man will spend the rest of his life in prison after a Christian County judge sentenced him to a total of 330 consecutive years on 11 different charges.
Gary W. Hicks, 24, was sentenced to 30 years each on three counts of first-degree child molestation, and 30 years each on eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child.
Circuit Judge Jennifer Growcock sentenced Hicks at a hearing in Ozark Nov. 6.
Attorneys reached a plea agreement that kept the case from going to trial on what was originally a 17-count indictment that accused Hicks of engaging in sex acts with a child.
Hicks entered a guilty plea on Oct. 22, and was ordered to undergo a sentencing assessment by the Missouri Division of Probation and Parole. That assessment by parole officers led to a report that the judge examined before sentencing Hicks per the terms of his plea agreement with prosecutors.
Hicks was represented by public defender Bryan Delleville. His sentencing was originally set for January, but was pushed back multiple times due to COVID-19-related issues and by agreement of the attorneys involved.
Hicks was first arrested Jan. 2, 2019, and charged with seven counts. His charges were upped in February 2019, when a grand jury returned a 18-count felony true bill accusing Hicks of seven counts of statutory sodomy of a person less than 12 years of age, three counts of first degree child molestation, and eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor child.
The sodomy charges were later dropped, per the terms of Hicks’ plea agreement.
Hicks was arrested following an interview at the Nixa Police Department on Dec. 31, 2018.
The grand jury indictment accused Hicks of engaging in sex acts with the girl as well as touching her inappropriately under her clothing. Hicks’ sexual exploitation of a minor child charges all relate to allegations that he “knowingly created child pornography” by photographing the girl touching him.
In a probable cause statement filed Jan. 2, a Billings police officer describes an interview in which Hicks allegedly confessed details on his sexual involvement with a child less than 10 years of age. According to the probable cause statement, Hicks was sexually involved with the girl in several instances between July and November of 2018. The probable cause statement says Hicks directed the girl to perform sex acts on him, and touched the girl inappropriately on multiple occasions.
The incidents allegedly occurred at a home on East Mt. Vernon Road in Billings.
Under Missouri law, a class A felony, which encompasses both the child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor child charges, carries a prison term of no less than 10 years and up to 30 years in prison upon conviction.
Editor’s note: In the Headliner News’ coverage of court cases involving minors, especially with allegations of sex crimes or molestation, some details found in court documents are intentionally omitted. This is done in effort to adhere to the Headliner News’ policies for news coverage and to protect the identities of minors and/or the victims of sexual offenses.