Jury rules Mohave County man as sexually violent

In a first-of-its-kind civil trial in Mohave County Tuesday, an eight-person jury found that Wilber Clarence Wilson is a sexually violent person and should remain in the Arizona State Hospital indefinitely.

Wilson, 75, has been committed at the state hospital in Phoenix for more than one year for sexual crimes he committed three years ago in Bullhead City.

Wilson, of Bullhead City, was charged with aggravated assault on a child at a Bullhead City shopping center in 1997.

He received probation until he violated his probation and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison before he was committed to the state hospital.

He was also convicted for sex offenses in 1983 in California.

"He's committed his crimes late in his life," Juror Felecia Caples said after the day and a half trial ended.

"The first 50 years he has lived like everyone else.

But in the last 18 years, he's committed three sex offenses.

He's getting worse not better."

Superior Court Judge James Chavez ordered Wilson back to the hospital where he will now be enrolled in the special treatment program at the hospital.

More than 130 sex offenders, including Wilson, are confined in the state mental hospital.

Once a year, hospital staff will now review Wilson's progress in the treatment program, Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack said.

With the upcoming release of a sex offender from prison, a county's attorney office petitions for a hearing and a civil jury trial is held in Superior Court to determine if the sex offender should be committed at the state hospital indefinitely and be placed in the treatment program.

However, Wilson, one of two Mohave County sex offenders committed to the hospital for sexual crimes, could be released if a ruling by the Arizona Appeals Court stands.

The Arizona Supreme Court, after an appeal by the state Attorney General's Office, has yet to reach a decision on a ruling by the Appeals Court on the constitutionality of the violent sex offender's program.

The appellate court ruled Feb.

15 that it is unconstitutional for sex offenders to be sentenced to the state hospital in Phoenix after completing their prison sentences.

The ruling was based on a Yuma case.

Mohave County's other sex offender, Norman Alan Mongeon of Kingman was never convicted but a Superior Court judge ruled that he was mentally incompetent and committed him to the state hospital in November 1997.

He was arrested in June 1997 at a Kingman residence for indecent exposure, molesting a child and public sexual indecency, records show.

In a previous hearing that he did not attend, Mongeon declined a civil trial.

He refused to return to the county jail, stating he wanted to remain at the hospital.

If the Supreme Court rules to uphold the lower courts decision, Mongeon could be discharged from the hospital against his will, Zack said.

Chavez postponed Mongeon's trial, originally set for May 7, and ordered another hearing May 21 to see where the case stands.