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Local News

Jury Finds Santa Maria Man Guilty of Child Molestation, Solicitation to Commit Murder

A jury on Thursday found a Santa Maria man guilty of 16 felony counts, including child molestation and solicitation to commit murder charges.

Felix Nicolas, 39, was found guilty of 16 counts of sexual abuse, including solicitation to commit murder, aggravated sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14, oral copulation of a minor under the age of 14, rape of a minor under the age of 14 and attempted sodomy of a minor under the age of 14, Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Thursday.

She said Nicolas sexually assaulted three girls between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time of the crimes.

While incarcerated in the Santa Barbara County Jail, Nicolas hired a fellow inmate to kill two of the victims who are currently ages 21 and 23, Dudley said.

The inmate told a guard about the plan to kill the two victims, and he assisted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department in an investigation into the murder for hire.

"As a result of the bravery of the testifying witness, the exemplary investigative work on the part of the Santa Maria Police Department and Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, and eventual prosecution by Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy, Nicolas will spend the rest of his life in prison and will never have the opportunity to harm another child," Dudley said in a statement.

Nicolas faces up to 221 years in prison, with sentencing scheduled for Dec. 18.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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