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[May 10, 2014]
Child porn case in Williamsburg sent to grand jury [The Virginia Gazette, Williamsburg :: ]
(Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 09--WILLIAMSBURG -- A Williamsburg man accused of producing and distributing child pornography will likely face trial on a dozen felony charges.
Three counts of producing child pornography and nine counts of distribution of child pornography against Matthew J. Stickle, 42, were certified to a grand jury Friday in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
After hearing testimony from a single law enforcement witness Friday at the preliminary hearing, Judge Geoff Fairbanks was clear the case should proceed to the circuit court. He noted that Lt. Scott Little, a certified digital forensic examiner with the Gloucester Sheriff's Office, testified that the evidence found was child pornography and that was enough to find probable cause.
"You don't have any witnesses here to rebut what he says," Fairbanks told defense attorney Patricia Nagel. "So as far as I'm concerned it's child pornography." Stickle was arrested in December 2013 following a search of the home where he was living on Claiborne Drive, according to Maj. Greg Riley with Williamsburg police. Riley said at the time of the arrest that Williamsburg police received information in early September 2013 that distribution of child pornography was occurring in the city.
Little testified Friday that in September he was taking part in an undercover investigation related to peer-to-peer sharing of child pornography, specifically of the Aries network. On Sept. 3, 2013, he said he successfully downloaded one picture file from a particular computer that was sharing on the network, according to his testimony.
A short time later that same day, Little said he downloaded seven video files. He explained that upon determining those files contained suspected child pornography, he contacted Cox Communications to subpoena the name attached to the IP address of the computer from which the files were shared.
The account belonged to a woman who lived on Claiborne Drive in Williamsburg. Police searched the home in December, recovering two laptop computers.
On Friday, the woman testified that she was living at the residence with Stickle, who was her fiance at the time. She told the court that one of the two laptops found by police belonged to her, the other to Stickle.
Little said a forensic examination of the laptop the woman identified as hers revealed no evidence of child pornography. On Stickle's laptop, Little said he found about 500 files containing child pornography, including a number of videos.
He testified that he found most of the files within the "Shared" folder on the laptop, but three videos he deemed pertinent to the investigation were found in a separate folder. Little said he observed a person in the videos he believed to be Stickle involved in a sexual act with an individual he said he observed to be a young boy.
Kufro told the court those three videos are tied to the three production charges Stickle faces. She said the dates range from January 2012 to January 2013.
Nagel argued that no evidence had been presented that Stickle produced videos containing child pornography.
"He was in the videos," Fairbanks stated matter-of-factly.
Robertson can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.
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