'Peeping preacher' waives right to jury trial

'Peeping preacher' waives right to jury trial
Sammy Nuckolls
Sammy Nuckolls

(WMC-TV) - The man accused of being a peeping preacher was back in a Mid-South courtroom Friday.

Sammy Nuckolls, the traveling pastor from Olive Branch, was in court to answer to 13 charges of secretly videotaping women with a hidden pen camera during religious revivals.

"Both the defendant, the state, and his attorney agree that there are some facts they can't dispute," said Assistant District Attorney Steve Jubera.

In April, Nuckolls pleaded guilty to two counts of video voyeurism. Victims accusing him of the same crime in Mississippi expected Nuckolls to plead guilty to the 14 counts he's facing in DeSoto County.

"I don't think there's anybody that I've dealt with in my 29 year that has felt as much remorse as Sammy Nuckolls has," said his defense attorney, Ron Michael.

Instead of pleading guilty as many expected he would do, Nuckolls did not enter a plea. He waived his right to a jury trial and will allow a judge to determine his guilt or innocence. Doing so leaves the door open to appeal should he be found guilty.

Friends of the victims call the decision disappointing.

"I wanted them to get some justice today just to even hear him say I'm guilty, that's a little bit of justice," said Bobbie Fisher, who is a friend of a victim.

Defense attorneys are challenging whether some of Nuckolls alleged crimes happened outside the statute of limitations.

But there is some question as to whether Nuckolls continued to violate the law when he transferred the secret videos to another computer.

Nuckolls has never served any jail time for his Arkansas Crime or his DeSoto County arrest and indictment.

The court of appeals and the Supreme Court will have to decide whether any of the crimes were outside the statute of limitations. That will happen after the judge's ruling on Nuckolls guilt or innocence on September 14.

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