A Memphis man on Thursday was convicted of traveling to Conway in October 2016 to meet up with who he thought was local mother and her 12-year-old daughter with the intentions of having sex with the young girl.
Michael Jay Willins, 40, was arrested by Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigators on Oct. 13, 2016, and initially faced one count of conspiracy to commit rape. However, the Tennessee man was later federally indicted by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on two charges – enticement of a minor and traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
According to a probable cause affidavit, authorities first launched an investigation against the then-38-year-old after FCSO located an online ad in late September 2016 where Willins posted he was “looking for a really taboo female.”
An undercover investigator created a profile and began chatting with Willins after finding the ad. The investigator created a profile as an adult woman with a 12-year-old daughter.
Willins told the investigator he was interested in driving to Conway to engage in sexual contact with the 12-year-old girl. He arranged to meet what he thought was a 33-year-old woman and her daughter at a predetermined location in Conway and said he would arrive in a black Nissan.
Faulkner County deputies arrested Willins before he walked up to the apartment he arranged to meet the undercover investigator in. Willins had an empty Cialis prescription bottle, condoms, lubricant and a sex toy that were taken as evidence when he was arrested.
U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland said it was alarming that Willins drove a lengthy distance with hopes to perform sexual acts on an underage girl.
“This defendant not only had the desire to sexually abuse a child, but he also demonstrated his willingness to act on that depravity by driving three hours to follow through with his perverse plans,” Hiland said. “This verdict shows that those who would prey upon children will be held accountable for their actions.”
A jury deliberated for less than an hour after listening to the case as it was presented over two days by Kristin Bryant and Joan Shipley, both assistant U.S. attorneys.
The Memphis man has not yet been sentenced in this matter, but faces “not less than 10 years” for the enticement charge and “not more than 30 years” for the intent to engage in illicit conduct charge. Both offenses potentially carry a fine up to $250,000.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.