It might go without saying, but incest is illegal in nearly every state in the United States. Perhaps a woman and her son in Asheville, North Carolina, were unaware of their state laws, as they were both charged Friday with the crime.
Warrants issued by Buncombe County authorities allege that Melissa Nell Kitchens, 44, had sex last month with her 25-year-old son, Shaun Thomas Pfeiffer, the Citizen-Times reported. It was not immediately clear how authorities learned of the alleged crime.
Kitchens published a comment on an image Pfeiffer posted to Facebook in January 2015 that praised her son's good looks, the Huffington Post UK reported. In the photo, Pfeiffer was holding his son. Kitchens wrote: “Can’t get over how handsome you are and I’m about to cry …” Kitchens went on to compliment Pfeiffer profusely.
Laws prohibiting degrees of incest — depending on the relationship and ages — differ state-to-state, according to the National District Attorney’s Association (NDAA). Age of consent laws in North Carolina stipulate that incest is a statutory charge, meaning that the charge can be applied to the North Carolina Age of Consent. There are three degrees of crime associated with incest – a Class B1 felony, which could be punishable with a minimum sentence of 25 years, Class C felony, 44 to 182 months, and a Class F felony with a 10 to 41-month prison sentence.
Pfeiffer, who is a married father of one, was also charged last month for alleged “indecent liberties” with a child. Warrants state he was acting menacing while he was under the influence of alcohol and being disruptive. He was arrested Aug. 28 and his bail was set at $70,500. Kitchens was arrested last Wednesday and held on $5,000 bail, Citizen–Times reported.
Both mother and son are set to appear Sept. 29 in Buncombe County District Court.