HOLBROOK — Cory Spencer, 26 of Show Low was sentenced last week in the Navajo County Superior Court to five years in prison followed by lifetime probation with sex offender terms. The case started in November of last year according to a press release from the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) when deputies responded to a report of an adult male taking pictures of the genitals of a child and showing a child nude pictures of Spencer. He was arrested that day and has been in the county jail ever since.
Spencer was supposed to plead guilty in February, and The Independent attended that hearing. The inmate was brought over from the jail—he is a large, stocky man and wore a full beard. His attorney was Daniel Healy. The state was represented by Deputy County Attorney Lee White who told Judge Ralph Hatch that the state was not ready to proceed with the plea because there may be more images and that needed to be investigated and the plea offer may have to be reconsidered.
After three “forensic interviews” in Show Low presumably of the victims who were all under the age of 15 years, and four search warrants allowing a search of Spencer’s phone, the final charges against Spencer handed up to the court by a grand jury totaled seven Class 2 Felonies alleging sexual exploitation of a minor and one Class 4 Felony of furnishing harmful materials to a minor.
In December, 2019 while in jail, Spencer was charged with a new crime of destroying jail property—a sprinkler head, a Class 5 Felony. That case was dismissed as a part of a global settlement, as participants in the criminal justice system sometimes call it, but he still has to pay for the damage.
On May 20, 2020, Spencer pleaded guilty to four amended counts of attempting to sexually exploit minors, all Class 3 Felonies. In the plea agreement, Spencer admitted to having a male child pull the child’s pants down and Spencer took a picture. The other three Class 3 Felonies involve “duplicates of photographs” of other children, including one of a “prepubescent female.” With regard to the Class 4 Felony of furnishing harmful materials to a minor, Spencer admitted to showing an image of his own genitalia to a boy. He admitted to committing the crimes between September 8 and November 18, 2019, according to the plea agreement.
At sentencing on June 17, 2020, the court followed the agreement and handed down the sentence. Five years in prison is the minimum sentence, the “presumptive” sentence in Arizona is 10 years; the maximum is 15 years. Spencer had no prior felonies, and lifetime probation kicks in upon his release from prison. Sex offender probation terms are very restrictive, to say the least.
Typically, the probationer agrees to home visits and searches by a probation officer without notice, without probable cause at any time, even in the middle of the night. They typically are not permitted to have any contact with children—if they have any of their own, only court ordered supervised visitation is allowed. They are also subject to community notification; that means that they can expect flyers to be posted in the neighborhood they plan to live and at nearby schools upon release from prison. Some convicts end up rejecting probation after a time, and choose to finish out the prison sentence—in Spencer’s case, that could mean up to ten more years in prison.
Within 30 days of sentencing, Spencer must provide a blood sample to authorities and his DNA will be recorded in law enforcement’s database. He must also pay Navajo County $420.00 for the jail’s sprinkler head.
In a press release last week, Sheriff David Clouse said that “Our Detectives not only keep our community safe, but our children as well. Children’s safely is a top priority in Navajo County.”
There is no appeal available from a judgment entered after a guilty plea.