Trial set to begin in alleged sex abuse of 2-year-old boy

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A long-delayed trial is set to begin for a Virginia man accused of sexually abusing and making child pornography of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.
The Roanoke Times reports that McKenzie Kyle Hellman, 27, of Christiansburg, is scheduled to go on trial Monday in Montgomery Country Circuit Court.
Hellman is also facing charges of second-degree murder in the boy’s death, and child abuse, but those counts have been separated from the sex charges and will be considered at a separate proceeding later.
Hellman and his girlfriend, Kayla Nicole Thomas, also 27, were arrested after the January 2019 death of Steven Dale Meek II, who was Thomas’ son.
An assistant state medical examiner testified in 2019 that she found 22 blunt force injuries to Steven’s head. Investigators said Hellman told them several different versions of how Steven was hurt, including that he had hit the boy, that he pushed him so that Steven fell and hit his head on a dresser, and that Steven fell out of bed.
Monday’s trial will not focus on the boy’s death, but instead on charges of animate object sexual penetration, being an accessory to forcible sodomy, and producing, reproducing and possessing child pornography. The charges were filed after police found what an investigator testified was a sexually explicit picture of Steven on Hellman’s phone.
An officer testified at a preliminary hearing that Hellman told police he asked Thomas to sexually abuse her son and instructed her to make videos of herself performing various acts upon the 2-year-old.
Thomas is charged with child abuse, forcible sodomy, inanimate object sexual penetration, producing and reproducing child porn. Her trial is scheduled to begin June 9.
Both Hellman and Thomas are being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail.