FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The last domino has fallen in a bizarre child sex abuse case involving a Fresno man, his wife, their girlfriend, and her young daughter.
Brent Cox on Tuesday admitted to continuous sexual abuse of a child and four other felonies.
Brent Cox is lined up to serve an 18-year prison sentence when a judge punishes him next month.
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But he avoided even harsher punishment because of the ongoing emotional damage that comes with his crime.
Cox was part of a "throuple" with his wife, Jillian, and Tammy Schreiner.
The threesome expanded to four when Schreiner let her then-11-year-old daughter get sexually involved with Cox.
Schreiner and Jillian Cox had both already admitted to their roles and were available as witnesses against Brent Cox.
The 42-year-old dropped his defense for a deal where the judge said he'd likely send Cox to prison for 18 years.
"For all the crimes in this particular case - child abuse, dissuading a witness, possession of a firearm, all these different factors - 18 years doesn't seem like a whole lot for all those different offenses," said legal analyst Tony Capozzi.
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The punishment could've been doubled because Cox had a prior felony strike, but the judge indicated he'd essentially ignore the strike at sentencing.
Capozzi says there could be a couple reasons for that, starting with the fact that the felony strike - a 2000 arson conviction - was 22 years ago and Cox had no felonies since then.
"That might've been a factor, too, since he's never been in trouble since then and the fact that it would avoid the young girl having to come in an testify," Capozzi said.
The deal also ensured Cox is never charged for a 2010 incident in Hayward.
Police there investigated Cox on similar accusations from a 6-year-old female relative, but prosecutors never filed a case and now the investigation will be closed.
The recent victim's family members told Action News they're satisfied with the likely prison sentence and happy the girl can move on.
Prosecutor Andrew Janz said he'll push for the maximum 40-year sentence for Cox, but ultimately, the child's mental health was the most important consideration.
"This is one of those situations where she was traumatized for years and she's doing better now and we really don't want to have her relive those bad circumstances," Janz said. "And we made this plea deal in conjunctions with talking to the family."
Cox will officially learn his punishment next month - and this part he didn't like - he'll get his sentence at the same time as the victim's mother gets hers.