FARMINGTON — A former Layton man who fled the country shortly after charges were filed was sent to prison Monday afternoon for admitting to sexually abusing a child.
Brian Keith Helton, 47, was sentenced to a term of 10 years to life in a Utah State Prison on one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. Helton pleaded guilty to the one charge on April 18, and in return five other sexual abuse charges were dropped.
Helton was present in court Monday alongside his attorney, Ronald Yengich. Yengich made it clear in court that Helton’s crimes continue to weigh upon him every day. Yengich later read from a letter written by Helton that expressed his feelings.
“I am truly sorry for what I’ve done and the pain I’ve caused,” Yengich said on behalf of Helton. “It makes me sick to my stomach to this day ... I’m sorry for what I have done.”
Helton himself did not speak during the Monday hearing.
In September, Helton was arrested by U.S. Marshals as he was walking off a plane in San Francisco, ending a two-year global manhunt.
Shortly after charges were filed against Helton in 2016, he fled to Chicago and ultimately to southeast Asia. Investigators later discovered Helton was in Thailand, and he allegedly learned the Royal Thai Police were planning on arresting him. He later fled from law enforcement once more, this time going to Japan.
Japanese officials, with the help of Interpol, notified U.S. Marshals that Helton had boarded a flight from Japan to San Francisco in an attempt to re-enter the United States.
Moments after he walked off his flight, Helton was “surprised” when he was met by Marshals, along with agents from the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol.
On Monday, a family member of the child addressed the court on behalf of the victim’s family. He said that he hopes the court’s sentence will keep Helton away from children for a very long time, and that prison is where Helton belongs.
Judge Michael Edwards said he was unsure if anyone can fully recover from a traumatic experience such as this, but he wished the victim all the best in their healing process.
Edwards abided by the deal struck between the defense and prosecutors by sending Helton to prison for at least the next 10 years. Helton’s ultimate sentence will be decided upon by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. Helton was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,589.96.
Helton will be transferred from the Davis County Jail to the Utah Department of Corrections to begin his prison term.