Child sex crime trial co-defendant says other threatened to kill her
A woman who sexually assaulted children and allowed others to molest the kids pleaded guilty to various charges on Tuesday. One of the men she allowed to participate also admitted to his crimes and will now serve decades behind bars.
Lindsey Honeycutt and Panteleimon Spirakis pleaded guilty during separate hearings in Horry County Circuit Court. The pleas happened just hours before Spirakis was to face trial on the charges.
Honeycutt pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and two counts of unlawful conduct to a child. Sentencing will be at a later date.
She wasn’t immediately sentenced to allow her to testify against other co-defendants in the case. Honeycutt, 31, faces up to 60 years in prison.
Assistant Solicitor C. Leigh Andrews said Honeycutt inappropriately touched two children and didn’t stop others from doing the same. The incidents occurred between 2014 and 2015 and the children were 4 years old at the time.
“She allowed other adults to touch and molest those children,” Andrews said.
Honeycutt softly spoke and told the judge the details described by Andrews were correct.
Police initially charged Honeycutt, Spirakis, Ambrose Heavener and Anthony Strickland with a host of criminal charged related to sex crimes against the two children.
The criminal cases against Heavener and Strickland remain active.
Moments after sides selected a jury for Spirakis’ trial, he told the court he wanted to plea to his charges.
Spirakis pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging a child for sexual performance, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. He faced up to 120 years in prison.
Judge Larry Hyman sentenced him to 17 years on each of the criminal sexual conduct and engaging a child charges. Those sentences will run at the same time. He will have to serve three additional years on the sexual exploitation charge.
Spirakis won’t be parole eligible during the 20-year sentence.
He’s previously registered as a sex offender as the result of a separate case.
The children’s grandmother Melinda Edwards said the two kids still need therapy years after the assaults.
“The damage to my grandkids is very extensive,” she said. Later she added, “I would like to see this man locked up for the balance of his life so he can not harm other children.”
Defense Attorney Ralph Wilson Sr. said Spirakis deserved to be punished, but he was less culpable than some of the other defendants. Wilson said his 57-year-old client faced the possibility of dying in prison no matter the sentence.
“A 10-year sentence is a life sentence to him,” Wilson said.