Prosecutors intend to seek a life prison sentence for a convicted sex offender accused of kidnapping and raping two teenage girls in a crypt-like space beneath his home.
“I want him dead, but life without parole — with him never seeing outside again — is fine because he won’t hurt anybody else,” the mother of one of the teenagers said.
Kenneth Glenn Hinson, 48, is charged with sexually assaulting the girls in March in an underground room concealed under a shed behind his home. The girls were bound but managed to free themselves and get to safety, authorities have said.
The room was just 4½ feet deep and roughly the length and width of a midsize car. Its floor and walls were lined with two-by-fours. A single 75-watt bulb illuminated the space.
State Attorney General Henry McMaster told a judge Thursday that his office plans to seek life without parole for Hinson because he was convicted in 1991 of raping a 12-year-old girl.
Hinson’s attorney would not speak to an Associated Press reporter after the hearing.
The mother of one of the teens said Hinson “needs to be locked up in a hole and put there for life.”
Hinson served slightly more than nine years in prison in the previous case and was released after Circuit Judge Edward Cottingham rejected prosecutors’ pleas that he be committed indefinitely.
Cottingham presided over the preliminary hearing Thursday.
McMaster’s office previously criticized Cottingham, but the attorney general would not talk about the judge on Thursday. Cottingham is scheduled to handle a case in another county the week of March 19, when Hinson’s trial has been tentatively scheduled.
Just before Hinson’s release from prison in 2000, two review committees recommended he be committed indefinitely to a Department of Mental Health facility. One committee said in its report that Hinson could possibly re-offend.
At that point, McMaster’s office asked that Hinson be committed to the state’s sexually violent predator program. Cottingham, a retired judge who still handled some cases, rejected the request, writing that prosecutors “failed to demonstrate” that Hinson could commit a future sex crime.
Cottingham has told a TV station in Columbia that he does not remember the case.