By JB Clark
TUPELO – The grandmother of one of James Everett Dutschke’s fondling victims stood up Tuesday to tell him any sentence he receives will never be enough to make up for her granddaughter’s innocence, which she accused him of stealing.
“You carry yourself as a smart man but you couldn’t be farther from that,” she said. “You’re a child molester and you got caught.”
Lee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Funderburk sentenced Dutschke to 45 years in prison, 20 to be served and 25 suspended. Dutschke pleaded guilty to the three fondling counts in January.
The sentence will be served alongside his 25-year federal prison sentence for mailing ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
Dutschke, despite pleading guilty on both federal and state charges, has been known to proclaim his innocence outside of the courtrooms, while being transported from jail to court, and silently mouth claims of his innocence to anyone sitting in a courtroom gallery.
He also, briefly, proclaimed his innocence during pre-sentencing remarks in federal court earlier this month, saying he intended to withdraw his guilty plea before reaffirming it and receiving a prison sentence a week later.
Funderburk made a point to remind Dutschke he has officially pleaded guilty to charges of fondling minors in his court. “Prior to your sentencing I would like to agree with the grandmother who just spoke to you,” Funderburk said. “You are a child molester. You admitted to being a child molester and you got caught, thank goodness. I agree you will never get what you deserve but you will get what was recommended by your prosecution.”
Dutschke shook his head in disagreement any time his guilt was mentioned and again when Funderburk said part of the sentencing will require Dutschke to maintain a lifelong registry as a sex offender.
The fondling incidents occurred between January 2008 and Jan. 16, 2013, while the victims were under the age of 16. The victims were all in contact with Dutschke through his martial arts school and are now 8, 9 and 20 years old.
For each count he will also be required to pay a $1,000 fine, $500 assessment to the District Attorney’s investigation fund and a $1,000 assessment to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund.
Funderburk told Dutschke if he makes contact with the victims or their families, violates any terms of his post-release supervision or re-offends, he will not hesitate to impose the suspended 25 years of the sentence.