James Collins, 76, of Mesa del Caballo, convicted of child molestation, was sentenced to 17 years without parole in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
The sentence was based on the fact that Collins was convicted of a dangerous crime against a child, according to Det. Brian Havey of the Gila County Sheriff’s Department who investigated the case along with Det. George Ratliff.
Shirley Collins, 65, James Collins’ wife, was convicted of tampering with evidence, and was put into the adult diversion program. She will move out of state to complete five years probation, Havey said. Upon completion of probation, Shirley Collins’ charge will be reduced to a Class 1 Misdemeanor from a Class 6 Felony, he explained..
Collins was sentenced Nov. 18 by Judge James W. Hazel, Jr.
The conviction of James Collins was made after the first closed-circuit television testimony in Gila County courtroom history.
The testimony was given by the 5-year-old victim.
Collins had faced a mandatory term of between 10 and 24 years.