Third man acquitted of child enticement charges

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By JB Clark

Daily Journal

OXFORD – A man indicted in federal court for enticing a minor for sexual purposes was acquitted Tuesday.

Casey Clayton Holmes, 29, of Columbus, was acquitted by a federal jury after he argued he was entrapped by law enforcement.

Holmes is the third man charged in a sexual enticement sting out of Tupelo to take his case before a jury and be found not guilty.

He is one of at least a dozen men charged by the Tupelo Police Department for enticement of a minor for sexual purposes in 2013. The charges came from a sting in which an officer posed as a woman on an online dating site.

A fourth man, Gary Waddle, is the only of the four to be convicted but his case is currently being appealed in the U.S. District Court of North Mississippi.

During the online conversation the officer will mention he (posing as a young woman) is underage but in Waddle’s appeal, he said the user has to certify he or she is 18 years of age or older to access the site.

Rhea Tannehill, Holmes’ attorney, said he believes the facts and evidence were presented fairly and is grateful the jury found his client not guilty.

Bradley Gilmore was the first to take his case before a jury, arguing enticement, and was acquitted of enticement charges in October. Christopher Pickle made a similar argument and was acquitted in January.

The majority of the men charged in the enticement sting have pleaded guilty to the crime, which carries a 10-year minimum prison sentence.

Christopher Caldwell, 38, of Robertsdale, Ala., is the next slated to fight his enticement charges in court. His trial is set for April 21.

jb.clark@journalinc.com