BAY MINETTE, Ala. – A judge sentenced an Alabama woman to 219 years in prison Thursday for her role in an incestuous sex ring accused of molesting children for years.
Wendy Holland, 35, showed no emotion as the judge condemned her to what amounts to a life sentence. She must serve at least 50 years in prison before parole consideration, a prosecutor said.
Jurors convicted her of sodomy, sexual abuse and other charges last month.
Another defendant, William Brownlee, got a 20-year prison sentence. Brownlee, 50, was convicted of sodomy and sexual abuse last fall.
The two were among 11 people charged with sex crimes following the 2012 disappearance of a suspected victim of the ring, Brittney Wood, 19. She remains missing and is presumed dead.
Baldwin Council Circuit Judge Jody Bishop gave both Holland and Brownlee the maximum sentence and said each deserved more time. Both still face additional charges involving other alleged victims.
In a letter read in court, an underage female victim in both cases said years of abuse left her traumatized. She has a hard time trusting anyone, gets angry easily and rarely feels safe.
“I was a little girl being held down and raped,” wrote the victim, who was in court.
Authorities said the two were part of a group of relatives and friends who for years sexually abused children and swapped their own kids for sex.
Holland is the widow of the alleged leader of the group, Donnie Holland, who was Brittney Wood’s uncle. The teen went missing around the time Holland was found with a gunshot to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.
Even without Brittney Wood to testify, two of her uncles and an older brother already pleaded guilty to sex charges before juries convicted Wendy Holland and Brownlee.
In the letter read in court, the underage teen abused by both Holland, a relative, and Brownlee, a family friend, compared her youth to being lost in a maze.
The teen said she felt like she was constantly looking into shadows around corners in fear of more sexual torture.
“The people who were supposed to protect me were the ones hurting me,” she wrote.