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A Natrona County judge on Thursday afternoon sentenced a local man to life without parole for sexually abusing a child last year.

Judge Kerri Johnson in February found George Tamblyn, 41, guilty at trial of committing three sex crimes against a 5-year-old girl. Because Tamblyn was convicted in 2012 of second-degree sexual abuse, his February conviction for the same crime meant he was subject to a Wyoming statute that requires his incarceration for life without the possibility of parole.

In a pre-sentencing court filing and at Thursday’s hearing, court-appointed defense attorney Joe Cole did not contest the sentence.

“The sentencing statute is mandatory,” Cole told the judge on Thursday. “I don’t see a loophole in it.”

Tamblyn was more than halfway into a 10-year probationary sentence for the 2012 conviction when he abused the child last year. He was kicked out of a sex offender treatment group last year. In February of this year, he waived his right to trial by jury and Johnson found him guilty of three crimes in connection with his abuse of the 5-year-old. The judge dismissed two other counts against Tamblyn, ruling the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to prove its case on those crimes.

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In March, Tamblyn admitted to violating probation in the 2012 case and Judge Catherine Wilking ordered he serve 12 to 15 years imprisonment for the probation violation but was granted credit for nearly two years he had already served in that case.

Much of Thursday’s 20-minute hearing consisted of defense comments on a pre-sentence investigation report. Cole spent roughly 10 minutes adding comment to areas of the report that included Tamblyn’s psychiatric state, when he last used a synthetic drug and the man’s martial status.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri declined to comment on the majority of Cole’s statements and did not call for any victims to make statements at the hearing. He told the judge before a courtroom audience of 14 — including two police officers, District Attorney Dan Itzen, two victim’s advocates and a single supporter of Tamblyn — that law requires Tamblyn’s incarceration for life without the possibility of parole. He asked the judge to also sentence Tamblyn for 13 to 15 years on each of the other two felonies and run all sentences — including the one corresponding to the probation revocation — one after another.

“Your honor,” the prosecutor said, “he’s earned this sentence.”

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Cole then told the judge that he agreed the statute required her to sentence Tamblyn to life without parole. He asked Johnson to run all sentences at the same time and did not address the length of the lesser sentences, except to say the lengths of those terms were probably immaterial. Cole said his client’s only hope for an early release would rest in a petition to a governor.

“That’s not going to happen for the next 10 elections at least,” he said. “The Legislature has given us a mandate and we must obey it.”

After Tamblyn declined to comment, Johnson cited only the statutory requirement before ordering he serve life without parole. She ordered that the additional sentences of 10-15 years and the probation revocation penalty run at the same time as the life sentence.

After Cole patted his client on the back, sheriff’s deputies led Tamblyn behind a courtroom door and toward Department of Corrections custody.

A March court filing submitted by Cole indicated Tamblyn may yet appeal his sentence.

“The Defendant feels the life without the possibility of parole sentence is harsh, in contradiction of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Cole wrote in the memo. “That, however, appears to be an issue for the appellate court.”

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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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