Man convicted in kidnap, rape of Warren girl

Detroit Free Press Inc.
August 19, 2000, 9:33 AM

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — A Hazel Park man was convicted of 10 crimes in the
Christmas Eve kidnapping and sex assault of a Warren girl.

The man acted as his own attorney and denied the charges.

“I can’t even comprehend what (Warren police) are saying, much less do
it,” said William Kenneth Preston, 38, in court Friday. “I love children.
I’d never harm a child.”

Jurors didn’t buy it, and convicted Preston on eight counts of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal
sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping. He faces a maximum of life
imprisonment at his sentencing on Sept. 21.

“His focus seemed to be on pointing to a conspiracy rather than, say,
taking on inconsistencies in the victim’s statements,” Eric Smith, Macomb
County assistant prosecutor, told The Macomb Daily.

Officials said Preston pulled the girl, then 10, into his van as she
walked with a friend along a street in southwest Warren. Prosecutors said
he raped her repeatedly before releasing her early the next day –
Christmas Eve 1998 — in Hazel Park.

Police arrested Preston hours later at an adult bookstore that has since
closed. Officials say Preston was wearing pants with the girl’s vomit
still on them.

Since his arrest and first appearance in court, Preston has fired three
separate court-appointed defense attorneys in the case and insisted on
representing himself at trial. Macomb County Circuit Judge George E.
Montgomery allowed him to do so but would not allow him to question the
victim directly.

Some legal observers said that decision could lead to an appeal.

Another case involving Preston and a girl roughly the same age may also
go to trial with Preston defending himself.

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