A 39-year-old Tennessee man who came to Diamond to have sex with an underaged girl who turned out to be a middle-aged policeman will not receive a new trial.
The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District Wednesday rejected David R. Bullock's contention that his seven-year sentence after being found guilty of attempted statutory rape and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor should be overturned because of entrapment.
Bullock came to Diamond after having internet conversations with Murray, who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. According to court records, Jim Murray, a Diamond police officer, created "Ashley Anne," using a profile and photograph, and visited teen chat rooms to see if child molesters or pedophiles would "hit on him."
On Sept. 24, 2002, according to the court record, Murray logged on to a teen chat room with a title, "Older Guys Looking for Younger Girls." Shortly after he logged on he received a "whisper" or private message that could only be seen by him and the sender, who was using the screen name "Lover of Young Females."
Bullock told Murray he was from Missouri and stayed in the St. Louis area a lot. Murray replied, "Neat," but said that St. Louis is on the other side of the state. Bullock asked "Ashley Anne" if she wanted to meet "for real." "Ashley Anne" replied that she was not very pretty and did not think he would want to meet her.
Bullock gave Ashley Anne his instant messenger name "Young Lover 33" and told her to go to it before the chat room closed. Ashley Anne asked Bullock for a picture and asked him how often he came to the Joplin area. Bullock said he didn't get to Joplin very often, but he could be there the following week.
Ashley said, "Wow! I would have to get permission to stay at a friend's house. Where would you want to meet?"
Bullock then asked "her" if she were "a naughty girl."
Ashley replied, "I can be as naughty as you would want...you would have to teach me."
After they switched to instant messenger, they began questioning each other about their backgrounds. Ashley answered "neat" each time Bullock said anything. Bullock eventually steered the conversation toward sexual topics. He asked Ashley if she ever "plays on" the phone. Ashley said she didn't, but she a friend who did. Bullock asked Ashley if she was a virgin, what grade she was in, and what she was wearing. She said she was a virgin and she was in seventh grade and she was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He then asked her if she wearing a bra and panties, what kind of panties she had on, and what color they were.
After Ashley told him she was alone in the room, Bullock asked her to touch herself in a sexual manner, then asked a number of extremely personal sexual questions. He then asked her to remove her panties.
He finally brought the conversation around to setting up an actual meeting. He asked for Ashley's phone number. She told him her dad was at home and asked for his number. Bullock insisted on being the one who called, according to the court record, saying "I'm trying to be careful. After all, the law doesn't like men and kids."
All of this took place in the first conversation between the two, according to the court record. They talked 17 more times between Sept. 25, 2002, and Oct. 18, 2002. "Ashley" attempted to get Bullock to send a picture of himself. He said no because "there are too many cops out there" who don't like "men and underaged girls."
Ashley said, "But I'm agreeing, what's wrong with that?"
Bullock eventually began discussing their upcoming sexual encounter saying he would not use protection because he would have no feeling and set the meeting up around her menstrual cycle so she would not need birth control.
He began asking Ashley to bring some of her younger friends with her. "He suggested he liked girls who were real flat chested and as young as six years of age." He asked Ashley who her youngest friend was. She said she had a friend who was 10 years old and in the fourth grade and she knew a girl who was a third grader. Bullock suggested he would start off by having sex with the third grader, then the fourth grader, then Ashley.
Bullock warned Ashley that what they were planning was against the law and they would get in trouble if any of them talked. The meeting was finally set for Oct. 18, 2002, right after school at Murphy's One Stop convenience store in Diamond. Ashley was told to get a bathroom key and meet him there.
Bullock drove to Diamond, stopped at Murphy's, left his ar, looked into the window of the store, and walked back toward his car. A female decoy, who was in he store, carried the key to the bathroom, walking a few feet behind Bullock, according to the court record. In Bullock's car, he had an aluminum case with a web camera and drive, a laptop computer, and numerous CDs.
Bullock admitted he had talked with Ashley, but said that if she had shown up he was going to "contact the police to advise them to counsel Ashley about the dangers of meeting someone she only knew from the internet."
Bullock's trial was moved from Newton to Jasper County, where he was found guilty after a one-day trial. In his appeal, he claimed that he should not have been charged since he never took a "substantial step" toward committing a crime. The court ruled that his conversations were the steps that he had taken.
The appellate panel also rejected his claims of entrapment saying that entrapment is when an officer induces a person to "engage in conduct that he is not otherwise ready and willing to do." Since Bullock had brought up the subject of meeting Ashley, he had not been entrapped.
The court did not buy Bullock's claim that he had expressed reservations about committing a crime. "His reservation was not in committing the crime but in getting caught," the decision said.