A former Carlsbad veterinarian was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for multiple sex crimes involving a young female family member.
Monte Whitehead, 37, of Comanche Road, earlier agreed to a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office under which he admitted to one count of criminal sexual contact and four counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor. He was originally charged with 53 separate sex crimes. The remaining charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Whitehead was placed under a suicide watch later Friday at the Eddy County Detention Center after a short-lived escape from the facility.
District Judge Don Maddox sentenced Whitehead to 15 years on the first count and 15 years each for the remaining four counts for a total of 75 years, before suspending all but 25 years.
Deputy District Attorney D’Ann Read said she supported Maddox’s decision.
“I am glad the court gave him the 25 years,” she said. “We felt the 25 years was sufficient.”
During her statements to the court at the sentencing, the victim, now a teenager, said Whitehead was every child’s worst nightmare.
“He began conditioning me when I was 8 years old,” she said. “He would leave porn around for me to see, have videos playing when my mom left the house.”
She said that during a four-year period, starting when she was 12, he began to have sex with her every day.
“He picked me up from school every day, and he would threaten me if I wanted to stop,” she said.
The victim also said that Whitehead tried to control every part of her life. At one point a microphone was found under her bed. She said Whitehead had been using it to tape all the phone conversations she had.
Capt. Jim Ballard, who led the investigation for the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department, said in his 19 years with the department this was the worse case he had seen that did not end in someone’s death.
“What is overlooked because of a sexual crime is the imprisonment of this child,” he said. “She was imprisoned in her own house, and her windows were screwed shut. It is unspeakable. There is not a word out of her mouth today that I don’t believe.”
After the victim and several others spoke, Whitehead then stood and apologized to his family and the victim for the shame he had caused them, while the victim looked on, shaking her head in the negative.
“We obviously would have liked less time in jail than the judge gave, but he reviewed the case extensively and I appreciate that,” said Whitehead’s attorney, Gary Mitchell.
Whitehead has been incarcerated at the county jail for the last two years while he was awaiting his trial and sentencing. He was held on a $1 million cash only bond.