ELKO — A Twin Falls woman convicted of forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breasts was sentenced Monday to life in prison.
Michelle Taylor was convicted of lewdness with a minor under 14 in November after a week-long trial in District Judge Mike Memeo’s courtroom.
With the conviction, Taylor faced a mandatory life sentence, and Memeo set parole eligibility after 10 years, the minimum sentence. If released on parole she must register as a sex offender and will be under lifetime supervision.
The district attorney’s office did not offer a plea agreement in the case, said public defender Alina Kilpatrick, who argued the sentence is unconstitutional and does not fit the crime.
“The jury was not allowed to know the potential sentence in this case and the Legislature doesn’t know the facts,” she said, alluding to the minimum sentence set by the Legislature in Nevada Revised Statutes.
Kilpatrick said despite the parole eligibility after 10 years, there should be no mistake that it’s a life sentence for Taylor.
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“She is getting a greater penalty for having a boy touch her breast than if she killed him,” she said, referencing a potential minimum 50-year sentence for first-degree murder or 25-year sentence for second-degree murder.
After he sentenced her, Memeo said he was bound by state statute to impose the life sentence, but said he is not sure why the prosecution chose to charge her under that statute.
District Attorney Gary Woodbury could not be reached for comment.
Taylor, who lived in Jackpot at the time of the crime, kissed a friend’s child, forced him to touch her breast and asked him to have sex with her in February 2008.
Taylor claimed she was intoxicated and does not remember what happened that night. She told jurors she roughhoused with the boy, but did not force him to touch her inappropriately.