DANVILLE — A Montour County jury convicted a Turbotville-area man of raping an 8-year-old after deliberating for nearly two hours and submitting four questions to the judge Wednesday.
Brent J. Kilgus, 35, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in jail for the rape conviction.
After the conviction at 12:50 p.m., Kilgus was taken into custody and sent to county prison. Montour County District Attorney Angela Mattis requested that his bail be increased from a straight $50,000, which he was free on, to a straight $500,000. Judge Gary Norton approved the increase.
Defense attorney William Stephens argued there was no reason to increase bail since his client had shown up at hearings and is represented by counsel. He said Kilgus isn't a threat to the community and asked for electronic monitoring. Norton said he didn't know how the defendant would react to the verdict and may be a danger to himself. "I am very worried about that," he said. Kilgus, who was working as a truck driver when he was charged, will be sentenced later.
Mattis said she had filed notice previously to seek the mandatory minimum 10-year jail sentence.
The commonwealth rested its case after calling three witnesses late Tuesday afternoon. The defense presented two witnesses Wednesday before the case was handed to the jury.
Mattis said video of Kilgus being interviewed by state police was compelling. She said it was quite a challenge to get the girl, who doesn't live in the area, to testify by videotape in the jury room. The jury and others watched her testimony from a screen in the courtroom. Mattis said the girl has undergone counseling.
State police arrested Kilgus for incidents from Jan. 1, 2017, through Jan. 19, 2018, in an Anthony Township home. The girl is not being identified because she is a juvenile and due to the nature of the charges.
The girl, now 11, sobbing at times, testified Kilgus had her perform oral sex on him, he performed oral sex on her and they had sexual intercourse. She also said she didn't tell anyone because she didn't want to get in trouble. She told her dad about the incidents in February 2018. The girl lives with her father and two siblings.
The jury of five women and seven men began deliberating at 10:20 a.m. and submitted a question in writing at 10:55 a.m. about the definition of consent. Norton told them where was no special legal definition in the crimes code. After he was notified the jury had reached a verdict at 11:20 a.m., he said he had done more research and read more information about consent to the jury and sent them back to further discuss that. He told the jury two counts — aggravated indecent assault and sexual assault — related to consent which the commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jury sent a note at 11:30 a.m. asking for copies of the definition of consent with Norton telling jurors he cannot provide copies but again read the definition to them. The jury sent a third question at 12:05 p.m. to have the definition of consent read one more time, which Norton did. The jury submitted a fourth question at 12:25 p.m. about consent and Mattis withdrew the aggravated indecent assault and sexual assault charges.
Jurors reached a verdict at 12:50 p.m. finding Kilgus guilty of rape, statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, aggravated indecent assault of someone younger than 13 and indecent assault of someone younger than 13.
Norton told the jurors they did an "outstanding job in a very difficult case and a very difficult topic. You did your duty and did it very well."
The defense called Davenna Kilgus, wife of Brent Kilgus, as the first witness. She said the girl would stay at her home. She testified Kilgus was not alone with the girl in the house.
Brent Kilgus, the second and final defense witness, testified the girl was like his daughter and that he didn't sleep with her. He denied being nude in her presence and denied any sexual activity.
As for the videotaped interview at the state police barracks, Kilgus said the corporal conducting the interview "was being real forceful and putting words in my mouth." He said he didn't remember signing a written confession the corporal had prepared.
Kilgus rejected a plea offer last week to plead guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a standard sentencing range of six to 20 years in jail.