Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 26, 2012

Man convicted of child sex abuse

TAHLEQUAH — Jurors on Tuesday returned a guilty verdict for a man accused of having sex with his adopted daughter and recommended he receive a 30-year sentence.

Once the verdict was announced, Stacey Garrett Begay, 47, was taken into custody and ordered to be held at the Cherokee County Detention Center until formal sentencing on Nov. 8.

After jurors exited the courtroom to begin their deliberations in the case, District Judge Darrell Shepherd ordered Stacey’s wife, Terry Begay, to be taken into custody on perjury charges.

Terry had taken the witness stand Monday afternoon and appeared, at times, to have trouble generating answers for Assistant District Attorney B.J. Baker and for her husband’s defense attorney, A.J. Garcia. She was unable to immediately supply answers to several questions, and at other times said she couldn’t recall what she’d done, seen or heard.

Shepherd had provided Terry Begay with immunity from prosecution at the state’s request, but told Terry Tuesday that, while she testified, it was “clear you were not telling the truth.” Shepherd told her she wasn’t arrested Monday because he wanted to ensure Stacey Begay had a fair trial.

Shepherd ordered Terry Begay to be held on a $10,000 bond with arraignment set in front of Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins.

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for just more than an hour and recommended Stacey Begay serve a 30-year sentence for child sexual abuse – 10 years more than what prosecutors requested as punishment. Shepherd ordered a presentence investigation be completed before Stacey Begay’s formal sentencing in November.

Much of the state’s case against Stacey Begay focused on a written statement he provided to Kathy Young, a domestic violence and sexual assault investigator with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Terry Begay previously testified she arrived at home and heard laughing coming from her daughter’s room. When she went into the room, her daughter was in bed and covered with a blanket, while Stacey Begay was behind the door, initially out of Terry’s sight. The girl had a shirt on, but no underwear, Terry previously testified.

Terry said everything was “just kind of spinning and getting real surreal,” that she could see her daughter and husband talking but didn’t recall what was said. She said it sounded like Stacey told her, “It’s what you think.”

Authorities said Terry Begay later grabbed a pistol and fired shots at her husband.

“She was pissed, and she got a gun and went to shooting,” Baker told jurors.

Stacey admitted to Young he’d been having sex with his adopted daughter since December 2010, after the girl broke up with her boyfriend.

He described, in his written statement to Young, how the interactions began with the girl sitting on his lap after school, while Terry was at work or in school. Stacey then described in detail the process he and the girl would take, from touching, tickling and kissing to what eventually led to the two having sex in the girl’s bedroom.

He told Young the girl would do things to “please” him, such as making cookies or dinner, and said the girl never ridiculed or criticized him.

“She made me feel good about myself,” Stacey Begay wrote in his statement to Young.

He admitted he’d had sex with the girl 10 times or more, Baker told jurors.

Garcia said Stacey might have made the written statement so he could get away from Terry Begay and let her calm down, “so [he’s] not getting shot at.”

Terry might have inferred that her daughter and husband had been having sex, and was jealous when she opened fire with her pistol, Garcia suggested.

“What safer place to be than in the jail house, while Momma cools down?” Garcia asked.

He related the state’s case to a “photograph of Bigfoot,” and said prosecutors were jumping to conclusions with no evidence that Stacey and his daughter had an incestuous relationship.

Baker argued it wasn’t reasonable for Stacey Begay, in order to get away from his wife, to lie to investigators and say he had sex with his adopted daughter.

“Stacey Begay had an incestuous relationship with his daughter,” Baker said. “... This is the case of the fox adopting the hen, and that’s exactly what you heard.”

Baker told jurors that the Begays wanted the case to “go away” and be “swept under the rug.”

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