AP NEWS

Moninger convicted in exploitation case

May 4, 2019

KINGMAN — A Las Vegas man who drove to Kingman last fall to have sex with a teenager who turned out to be a detective will end up in the Arizona Department of Corrections, possibly for decades.

A Mohave County Superior Court jury on Thursday found Kevin Harry Moninger, 63, guilty of attempted sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation.

Moninger was one of nine men snared in an undercover sting operation featuring Sheriff’s Detective Brennan Cassidy posing as a 13-year-old girl named “Sabrina.” Prosecutor Greg McPhillips said the defendants responded to a post on the internet Doublelist match site before Cassidy, posing as Sabrina, diverted the communication to text messages.

McPhillips told the jury that an exchange of more than 1,200 text messages preceded Moninger’s Oct. 5 trip to Kingman, where he was to meet Sabrina at a motel while her mother was at work. Moninger showed up with a Viagra pill in his pocket and a fur coat and other gifts for Sabrina when he was intercepted by officers.

Moningers’ attorney, Robin Puchek, asserted an entrapment defense and encouraged the jury to acquit his client. He said the idea for the crime originated with law enforcement and that Moninger was “urged and induced” to engage in illegal conduct.

The jury deliberated a half-hour Wednesday and about 21⁄2 hours more on Thursday before finding Moninger guilty of all counts. McPhillips said prison is mandatory and that Moninger could get up to 40 years when sentenced June 7.

Another Las Vegas man snared in the undercover operation, 33-year-old Durrel Keith Shaw, and 72-year-old George Lizotte, of Bullhead City, reached identical plea agreements resolving their cases. They face 5- to 10-year prison terms in upcoming sentencing hearings.

Six other Arizona men from Kingman, Lake Havasu and Bullhead City await trial in their cases.