A Labette County jury deliberated about 90 minutes before returning seven guilty verdicts against a Parsons man for trafficking, raping and sodomizing two teenage girls.
Rodney Blake Fosnight, 62, 2410 Morton, was tried Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Labette County District Court on two counts of aggravated human trafficking, two counts of rape and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy. Each count is a level one felony that requires a minimum of 147 months in prison. Fosnight has a criminal history that includes aggravated robbery and this likely will increase that penalty. Fosnight was also charged with two mid-level felonies of aggravated sexual battery. The final two counts were low-level felonies, furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes.
The crimes happened on April 23, 2022.
Assistant Labette County Attorney Alan Brereton completed his case against Fosnight Wednesday morning. Fosnight’s attorney, Robert Myers, didn’t offer any defense witnesses. After closing remarks and instructions, the jury took the case at 12:08 p.m. Wednesday and announced a verdict at 1:41 p.m.
The jury convicted Fosnight of two counts of aggravated human trafficking, one count of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors for illicit purposes. He was found not guilty of one count of rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery.
The trial began Monday and included testimony from the two teenage victims, one of whom was in foster care, law enforcement, a former boyfriend of one of the teenagers, a nurse and a forensic scientist who described DNA evidence collected and tested. The jury heard from the teenagers three times, once on the witness stand and two more times from recorded interviews with law officers. The jury also heard a video interview with Fosnight.
In Fosnight’s interview, a portion of which was played for the jury, Fosnight told Labette County Sheriff’s Detective Shannon Vail, “I did not rape nobody if that’s what it come down to.”
He said he brought one of the girls from the house with him to purchase ground beef, crackers, potatoes and other items at Walmart for his wife to make meatloaf. The teenager did the shopping because he didn’t want to, he told the detective.
On the way back to the house on Morton, he purchased beer for himself and a bottle of brandy for the teenager.
At the house, before his wife returned home, he asked the teenager from the Walmart trip and another female teenager at the house if they wanted to ride around. The boyfriend of the other teenager wanted to go, too, but Fosnight told him he had chores to complete.
The trio left in a white Dodge pickup belonging to Fosnight’s wife and stopped by another liquor store, purchasing a bottle of Pink Whitney (pink lemonade and vodka) that the teens sipped on.
While driving around, Fosnight said the two girls were horsing around and he offered to pay them $100 to do something freaky, as long as he could watch. They agreed to that, he told the detective. He told the detective to look at the truck and see that the rearview mirror was turned down so that he could see the activity in the back seat.
Fosnight told the detective that he wanted to participate in the activity with the girls and had stopped the truck on a gravel road. He asked both girls to perform oral sex on him and they refused, he told the detective.
While stopped, he touched both girls and penetrated them with his fingers. He told the detective one girl performed oral sex on him and then he had intercourse with her. He claimed that the sexual activity was consensual. He told the detective that he didn’t force the girls to do anything. He said he paid them $100 to do what he liked to do.
“They were paid,” he told the detective. He paid them a single $100 bill and took them to King Cash Saver after the drive so they could cash it. They returned to the pickup with snacks. One girl had $44 left and the other had $20 left.
He had asked the girls to keep this to themselves and had talked about wanting to do this again with them. Once his wife found out he told the detective that it looked like he wouldn’t have a place to live.
Parsons police were called to 2410 Morton before 3 p.m. on April 23, 2022, once the girls made the report. A detective determined the crimes happened outside the city limits and he turned the case over to the sheriff.
Fosnight kept telling the sheriff’s detective that he was trying to be as honest as he could. Fosnight told the detective that his DNA would be found.
Fosnight told the detective that he had a naughty dream the night before and told the first teenager about it during the Walmart trip. She reminded him of the woman from a Netflix show he watched and that woman was in his dream.
Myers, during cross-examination, noted and the detective agreed that one of the girls left out the fact that she had been drinking the brandy and the girls also didn’t tell the full story of the activity they were involved in while Fosnight was watching from the front seat.
Apparently, there was a pointed stick in the back seat floorboard of the pickup as well that the girls could have used to defend themselves had they not wanted to participate, Myers noted in his closing. The girls also didn’t seek help at the stores they visited during the drive.
The girls testified that they agreed to play around and allow Fosnight to watch them as long as he did not touch them. When he decided to get involved, both girls testified that they told him to stop and not to touch them. He touched them anyway and physically forced one girl to perform oral sex on him. This is the same girl that he raped after she said she didn’t want him to do that.
Neither of the girls had their cell phones with them during the drive, they testified, so they could not contact anyone. They testified too that they were scared.
A nurse from Ascension Via Christi in Pittsburg testified about conducting forensic examinations of the two girls and the swabs and clothing she collected.
Elizabeth Sawaya, a forensic DNA analyst for KBI in Topeka, testified about examining the clothing and swabs from the girls and comparing them to the known DNA samples of the two girls and Fosnight. Fosnight’s DNA was found in one of the swabs from the girl he raped.
Fosnight will be sentenced on March 22. Myers expects to file post-trial motions that will include a motion for a new trial.
Fosnight is being held in the Labette County Jail without bond.