- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

CARTHAGE, Ill. (AP) - A Missouri man has pleaded guilty in Illinois to trying to hire someone to kill a 4-year-old girl to prevent her from testifying against him in a sexual abuse case.

Christopher O. Brown, 27, of Revere, Missouri, entered the plea to one count of solicitation of murder for hire Thursday in a western Illinois court, The Quincy Herald-Whig (http://bit.ly/1X6SfpQ ) reported. A Hancock County judge immediately sentenced Brown to 25 years in prison.

Two counts of solicitation of murder for hire, which involved a 20-year-old woman and a 2-month-old child, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse were dropped as part of the plea deal.

Court documents showed Brown offered another Hancock County Jail inmate $15,000 and a $20 jail commissary to kill the 4-year-old girl. After the inmate told jail guards, the Illinois State Police obtained a warrant to record one of Brown’s jail conversations.

Brown was arrested Feb. 11 and charged with the two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on accusations he had sexual contact with a person under the age of 13.

The 4-year-old girl’s grandmother said in a statement to the court that Brown was accepted into their family and that the child is traumatized and needs therapy.

“She thinks Chris is coming back,” the grandmother said. “If someone is at the door, she runs and hides until she knows who is there.”

State’s Attorney Jason Pohren said he was pleased with Brown’s 25-year sentence.

“He’s going to be in his 50s when he is released,” Pohren said. “(The victim) won’t be traumatized by him anymore.”

He said the sexual abuse charges against Brown were dropped to avoid having the child testify in court.

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

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