Man accused of kidnapping said he feared girl’s suicide

Updated March 30, 2017 - 7:23 am

Melvyn Sprowson took the stand Wednesday to tell his side of the story in his kidnapping and child porn trial.

Acting as his own defense, he told jurors and prosecutors he kept a 16-year-old girl in his apartment for about two months because he was afraid she would kill herself if he took her home.

The former Las Vegas kindergarten teacher said the fear of the girl’s suicide and the fear of his possible arrest led him to lie to authorities about her whereabouts four separate times.

“Since I was her boyfriend, I figured she would listen to me,” he said.

Sprowson, 48, is charged with four counts of unlawful use of a minor in the production of pornography, as well as one count each of first-degree kidnapping and child abuse or neglect. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

Prosecutors say he kept the girl away from her family and school in his apartment for nine weeks.

Sprowson said he never intended for the girl to stay as long as she did, claiming he did not want to upset her by taking her home.

“You were the adult in this situation. If you wanted her to go home, you could have driven her home,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth told Sprowson in an intense cross-examination.


 

He faced jurors as he testified, frequently flipping through a yellow notepad to remind himself of details to include in his narrative. He was not questioned by his standby counsel, a lawyer in the courtroom to provide guidance on request.

Sprowson met the girl through a Craigslist ad in August 2013. The two exchanged pictures and later met at a roller-skating rink. Not long after, the girl stayed at his apartment, and the two had sex, Sprowson said.

The girl’s mother later found out where she was staying and took her phone away as punishment.

Sprowson said the teen contacted him, saying she would kill herself if he did not pick her up. He later drove to her house to pick her up and told her to bring her Social Security card and birth certificate. He said he wanted to have those documents with him to identify her in case she hurt or killed herself.

Prosecutors say he instructed her to bring the documents so the two could eventually marry.

When Sprowson did take the girl outside his apartment, he dressed her in baggy clothes and baseball caps. He testified that, to keep her warm, he gave her baggy clothing his brother had gifted him earlier in the summer.

Sprowson turned red and wept as he talked about how the girl threatened to kill herself again after she returned home.

“I cared for her to the best of my ability,” he said, wiping tears from his cheeks.

Bluth questioned how much he was concerned for the girl’s safety if he left her alone in his apartment to go to work.

Sprowson and prosecutors rested their cases Wednesday. The jury is expected to hear closing arguments Thursday morning.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nonprofit provides clothing for homeless
Sydney Grover of Can You Spare A Story?, talks about how she founded the non-profit organization. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Crime
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vehicle of Interest in January Homicide
Las Vegas police released footage Friday of a “vehicle of interest” from a deadly shooting in January. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Hostage escapes clutches of robber before shooting
Metropolitan Police Department footage shows a man wearing a motorcycle helmet, identified by police as 27-year-old Mario B. Trejo, with one arm wrapped around a woman’s neck and held a handgun to her head.
Sunset Park Vigil
A small group of people gathered in Sunset Park to remember the three children recently killed in the area.
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County detectives pursue suspects
A swarm of Nye County deputies, at the request of Las Vegas police, surrounded a hotel room in Pahrump last week to take two fugitives into custody. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like