Former ‘American Idol’ finalist sentenced to 70 years in prison

Brandon Cox (Alabama Department of Corrections)
Brandon Cox (Alabama Department of Corrections)

In 2012, Brandon Cox, 26, stood on the brink of stardom on the hit reality TV show “‘American Idol.” The native of Wetumpka, Alabama, made it all the way to the Hollywood rounds before being voted off the show. Now, almost five years later, he is facing the prospect of dying in prison after a judge handed down a sentence of 70 years for a conviction of possessing child pornography.

The stiff sentence was given because of the nature of the images, which included infants and toddlers engaging in sex acts.

District Attorney Randall Houston described Cox as “sick” and stated to one media outlet, “It’s very rare for us to deal with child porn cases where the images depict such young victims. Usually, it may be young girls, 14 to 15, which is bad, don’t get me wrong. But he had photos and videos of toddlers, 4- or 5-year-olds.There were even photos of an infant engaged in sexual acts.”

The state of Alabama asked for the maximum sentence in the case. Assistant District Attorney Kristy Peoples said, “Judge the evidence at trial brought out the horrific nature of the videos and images. There were hundreds of images that depicted what can only be described as outrageous acts done to children, mostly male children.”

Peoples later stated to media, “We are talking about toddlers, sexual penetration, oral sex, and the horrific nature of these photos and the quantity of the photos.”

Cox has maintained that he was innocent of the crime and plans to appeal his sentencing; in addition, his attorney has asked the court to assign him another lawyer for his appeal. Peoples went on to say that there was a concern for Cox’s 4-year-old son in light of the evidence presented at his trial. She stated, “It was a huge concern. Most of the children in these images and videos were male toddlers and younger male children.”

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