Friday, October 14, 2016

Lawyer wants delay for Neosho businessman's trial on child porn charge

A federal judge will decide Monday if the once-delayed trial of Neosho businessman Blake Altman on child pornography charges will be delayed again.

The trial was originally scheduled for March, then changed to October 31. Altman's lawyer, Dee Wampler, Springfield, wants it delayed again because he is involved in a trial in state court the same day, according to court records.

The March delay was because Wampler wanted more time ot prepare an expert witness.

Altman, 31, the former manager of Sam's Cellar, was indicted by a federal grand jury June 16, 2015.

Altman is free on a personal recognizance bond, despite opposition from the U. S. Attorney's office, which noted that not only was Altman downloading child pornography, but he told investigators that "his preference was for girls between 10 and 14 years old."

The government made the following argument for keeping Altman behind bars while he awaits trial:

The defendant was utilizing peer-to-peer file sharing software to receive and distribute images and videos depicting child pornography. The imagery in question depicted children, some as young as infants, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The defendant, at the time of the search warrant, possessed a rifle loaded with armor piercing bullets, two sets of body armor, and a Kevlar helmet.

The defendant was accused by a family member of inappropriately touching her when he was 16 years old. The accusation was never reported to the police. The defendant told the investigators that his preference was for girls between 10 and 14 years old. This case involves a minor victim..The evidence against the defendant is overwhelming

The indictment came more than eight months after a search warrant was executed on Altman's arrest, which was noted in the October 3, 2014 Turner Report, posted minus Altman's name before his arrest:

A search warrant request filed in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri indicates child pornography had been traced to an IP address belonging to a Neosho businessman.

The affidavit, written by Joplin police officer Charles Root, working with the FBI as a member of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, detailed the reasons the search warrant was being requested:

On August 14, 2014, Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force Officer James Smith conducted an undercover investigation into the distribution of child pornography. Utilizing an undercover computer, TFO Smith was able to make a direct connection with the target computer and browse the files available for sharing.

The target computer contained approximately 116 files believed to contain depictions of child pornography.

Smith was able to download 33 of the files, according to the affidavit:

Each of 33 files downloaded depicted minors, some as young as infants, engaged in sexual contact or posed in a sexually explicit manner. The imagery depicted minors engaging in such sexual acts as sexual intercourse and digital penetration of the minors' anus and vagina.

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