In a surprise twist, the Largo puppeteer accused of chatting online about kidnapping and eating a child has rejected a plea deal on lesser charges and demanded that his case go before a jury, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Ronald William Brown, 57, has decided not to go forward with a tentative plea deal he signed last week that would see him plead guilty to two charges of possessing child pornography and likely face between five and 10 years in federal prison.
Instead, prosecuters now say they will seek additional charges against Brown that "could include conspiring to kidnap a child, an offense carrying a life sentence for which Brown was arrested but ultimately not charged," the Times reports.
Brown provided puppet and marionette shows to local children around the Tampa Bay area for many years through his Puppets Plus business.
He was accused in July by federal agents of conspiring to kidnap a child at his church, talking online about cooking and eating children and having child pornography at his Whispering Pines residence.
Criminal complaint documents showed Brown allegedly chatted online with a Kansas man last year about kidnapping and eating children, describing how they would abduct them and cook their body parts on a stove.
The case shocked members of Gulf Coast Church, where Brown had volunteered for years in the children's ministry.
Are you surprised by the turn of events in this case? Post a comment below.
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