WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The trial of a Wichita Falls foster parent accused of committing sex crimes against the two boys in his care came to an abrupt end on Tuesday afternoon as testimony was set to resume.
The trial of William Kent Hathaway, II, 56, of Wichita Falls, began with jury selection on Monday, October 16, 2023, in the 30th District Court, with Judge Jeff McKnight presiding.
Hathaway was charged with the felony offenses of indecency with a child by sexual contact and invasive visual recording stemming from incidents in September 2022 involving two boys Hathaway was fostering, ages 11 and 13, at the time.
The jury of six men and six women from Wichita County was seated on Monday, October 16, and the trial began on Tuesday morning, October 17, 2023, in the 78th District Court with opening arguments from the prosecution, represented by Dobie Kosub, First Assistant District Attorney for Wichita County, and Hathaway’s defense team, led by Dustin Nimz.
After only one morning of testimony, however, Hathaway surprisingly changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, the maximum possible sentence for the crimes pending against him.
According to courthouse officials, the jury was dismissed from the courtroom at 11:50 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, for their lunch break, having been instructed to return at 1:15 p.m., when testimony was set to resume.
Courthouse officials said they received a phone call at 11:57 a.m. on Tuesday from an individual claiming to have information about Hathaway’s case.
At around 3 p.m., Kosub informed a stunned 12-member jury that the trial was over because Hathaway had changed his plea to guilty. He said a family member of Hathaway’s informed them that he’d committed similar crimes decades earlier.
Kosub informed the jury that the apparent family member of Hathaway’s informed them that they were willing to take the stand during Hathaway’s trial and testify to the crimes he’d committed decades prior, which Kosub said cast the case in a whole new light.
“The defendant at that time decided to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, and he has been sentenced to 20 years, which is the most we could’ve gotten,” Kosub said. “And what’s great about that is that young boy does not have to get on the stand and confront his adoptive father.”
Kosub said Hathaway also relinquished his parental rights and waived his right to an appeal, bringing the case to a close and providing justice for the two victims of Hathaway’s crimes.
The jury of 12 men and women from Wichita County had already sat through a morning of testimony, something Kosub said will likely stick with them for years to come.
“The jury heard plenty this morning,” Kosub said. “It was jarring, it was disgusting, it was disturbing, and at the end of the day, or the middle of the day, that weight is lifted off of them.”
The first witness called to the stand by Kosub was Matthew Bailey, a detective with the Crimes Against Children Unit of the Wichita Falls Police Department.
A video recording of an interview between Det. Bailey and Hathaway from September 2022 were played in court, during which Det. Bailey questioned Hathaway about an alleged incident that occurred in the days before the interview.
Det. Bailey questioned Hathaway about his relationship with his two foster sons, who were 11 and 13 years old at the time of the alleged incidents. Hathaway told Det. Bailey that he had many open conversations with the boys about sex and puberty. Hathaway told Det. Bailey several details about his sexuality, revealing that he had been married to a man in the past and that he’d previously been intimate with both men and women, something he said he was open with his foster children about.
Before the end of the video, Hathaway told Det. Bailey the passcode to his phone, the code to enter his home, and said he’d be willing to provide a DNA sample. Det. Bailey told Hathaway that a search warrant and arrest warrant had been issued, and the video ended with Hathaway being placed in handcuffs and taken into custody at the police station.
This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.