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A second intrafamilial child-sex ring was exposed and prosecuted in Bakersfield, with trials continuing into 1985. Seven defendants in another Bakersfield child-sex ring were convicted in August 1985, with multiple charges including child molestation and endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, and production of child pornography.Five adult defendants were convicted, including: Richard Cox, 47 (14 counts); Ruth Ann Taylor, 31 (14 counts); Anthony Cox, 25 (7 counts); George Cox, 24 (7 counts); and Theresa Cox, 21 (3 counts). Wayne Forsythe, 28, was convicted on 41 separate counts.Shortly after his conviction, victims in the case expanded their disclosures to include graphic descriptions of satanic ritual abuse and murders, involving nine more defendants.In January 1987, Gerardo Gonzales (facing 117 charges) pleaded no contest to one count of molesting a 5-year-old girl, and Rev.
Ritual elements in the case were ignored by authorities at the time. In August 1996, a judge overturned the child molestation convictions of Alvin and Deborah Mc Cuan and Scott and Brenda Kniffen.** (Northwest Herald, August 14, 1996).Other defendants, each convicted on a minimum of 50 counts, included Forsythe's wife, Colleen Dill Forsythe, 26; Ricky Pitts, 31, and his wife Marcella Pitts, 29; Wayne Dill, 26 (Colleen Forsythe's brother); Grace Dill, 50 (mother of Colleen Forsythe and Wayne Dill); and Gina Miller.Cumulative prison sentences in the case came to 2,100 years. Leroy George Stowe III was convicted on 16 counts of child molestation and sentenced to 30 years in March 1985.Acree was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 5 years suspended on the condition that he undergo psychiatric counseling for at least 4 years.
The victims were male, ages 10 - 17 years old, who displayed satanic tattoos and described themselves as members of Acree's "coven." (Newton, 1996).
(Beifuss, 1994) Misskelley confessed to his role in the killings, telling police the murders were linked to a cult ritual that included the rape and mutilation of victims. West Memphis police detective Bryn Ridge testified that elements in the case pointed to the work of a satanic cult. Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore disappeared while riding their bicycles in May 1993. Acquaintances said Echols carried a cat's skull to school, wrote satanic poems, and claimed to worship the devil. During his first police interview Echols told Detective Ridge that his favorite author was Anton La Vey, author of The Satanic Bible. Mental health records indicate that Echols' parents expressed concern about his possible involvement in "satanism or devil worship" when he was hospitalized in 1992.