UPDATE: John S. Kapenekas sentenced on sexual exploitation, drug charges

TUPELO – Former Tupelo restaurateur John S. Kapenekas will spend the next 15 months in state prison after his guilty pleas Tuesday to sexual exploitation of two minors and drug possession compounded by the presence of firearms.

Circuit Judge Seth Pounds sentenced the 48-year-old to 30 months in state prison, but took into account the 15 months he’s been in custody since he was arrested.

Kapenekas already faces 15 years in federal prison on similar charges. He will serve his state time first, Pounds said at the Lee Justice Center sentencing.

His brother, Bill Kapenekas, spoke some 36 minutes to Pounds on John’s behalf, saying the two had worked together at their family business, Vanelli’s restaurant, from 1979 until they “grew apart” in 2003.

He asked Pounds for mercy, especially since John will spend so much time in federal prison.

John Kapenekas pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually exploiting two minor girls by taking their photographs in various poses and stages of dress.

Prosecutors termed the photos perverse, licentious and sexually explicit.

He pleaded guilty to a third charge of possessing more than two doses of Ecstasy with intent to distribute. This charge was doubled in weight because he also possessed firearms in the home where the drugs were discovered.

• Read Wednesday’s Daily Journal for more details.


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