Prosecuting attorney frustrated after child rapist escapes
A U.S. Marshalls task force is still searching for 79-year-old William George Nicol, after he walked out of the Benton County courtroom Oct. 21, right before being found guilty of child rape.
Prosecuting attorney Anita Petra has been specializing in child and adult sex cases for the last 14 years.
In that time, she said she has never has someone escape like Nicol did.
“It’s not common this does not happen and so it was odd for him not to be here,” said Petra.
On Friday, after sitting through the entire trial, Nicol took off before the jury came to a verdict. He was found guilty of child rape and molestation charges for abusing a now 12 year old boy for more than four years.
“My reaction was frustration, frustration for the victim in this case it took a lot of guts for this young child to take the stand in front of their abuser in front of 13 strangers in front of a court room filled with people and to tell what happened to them,” said Petra.
In the last year, two other defendants in Petra’s cases have gotten away, but they took off before attending trial.
She says Nicol’s case is especially frustrating because of all the time, effort and energy put in by Washington, Montana and Utah law enforcement.
“The case was not able to come to an end in the child’s mind,” said Petra.
Nicol was out on $10,000 bail, wasn’t being held in jail and was going home throughought the trial. So he was trusted to show up at the verdict reading, but never did.
And since he was innocent until proven guilty, no extra security was put in place.
“I do believe that he will be caught we intend to file bail jumping up charges as he was out on bail on this case and that he will come to this court and he will be sentenced for the crimes that this jury found him guilty of beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Petra.