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Mercer County man charged with trying to intimidate 12-yea- old victim in sex case

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MERCER, Pa., - A Mercer County man jailed on sex charges involving a 12 year old girl is accused of trying to hire a fellow inmate to intimidate his alleged victim and two witnesses.

35-year-old Calvin Winchell was arraigned in district court three counts of intimidating a witness or victim to withhold testimony, and three counts of retaliating against a witness or victim.

Winchell has been in the Mercer County Jail since June 1 awaiting trial on 15 charges including  indecent assault against a person less than 13 years old, indecent exposure, corruption of minors, and  displaying explicit sexual material to a minor. A court affidavit says the alleged victim was a 12 year old girl.  

The affidavit says that another jail inmate, Joe Lemons, told investigators that Winchell offered to give him a gun or $600 to scare the 12-year-old and two other girls whom he believes are witnesses in the case.

Lemons told investigators that Winchell told him that the victim should be put in a man hole and given only bread and water until she could be persuaded. 

Winchell allegedly told Lemons he wanted one witness beaten, and wanted someone to set fire to the home of the other witness.

The affidavit says  that Winchell solicited Lemons because he believes that he'll be released from jail soon.

Investigators say Winchell denies asking Lemons to threaten or intimidate any of the girls. He admitted telling Lemons that he would  like to see someone beat one of the witnesses, but claims that he didn't for Lemons to carry out the beating.

Winchell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

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