Miller found guilty on majority of child porn charges

On Wednesday at the Kenai Courthouse, a jury delivered 116 guilty verdicts to Richard Miller, a 67-year-old Kenai man charged with 119 counts of felony possession of child pornography.

 


The case centered on whether Miller was the owner of the evidence used during the trial, which consisted of lewd photos and pornographic videos with young boys.


During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lawson argued the defendant irrefutably owned the evidence. Defense attorney Randall Cavanaugh argued his client didn’t exclusively control the content of the evidence.


As the many guilty verdicts indicate, the jury believed Miller owned a hard drive containing the pictures as well as a separately discovered videos. However, the jury was tasked with determining whether or not each piece of evidence was by definition child porn.


An investigator provided the jury with definitions of both child erotic and child porn during the trial. All jurors concluded all but three pieces of evidence were porn.


Following the verdict, Cavanaugh asked to poll the jury. The judge questioned each juror to determine if anyone was pressured into their vote. All 12 jurors confirmed the decision was their own.


Miller kept a calm demeanor throughout the hearing, only once taking a tissue to wipe his hands.


Court officers took Miller into custody at the end of the hearing. Lawson said it was the state’s position that Miller was immediately remanded.


“Based on 116 guilty verdicts … the presumption of innocence is gone,” she said. “Persons were continuously victimized, so he should be remanded today.”


Cavanaugh said his client hadn’t violated any conditions of bail previously set by the court, and it would help if Miller remained out of custody to gather needed materials for the sentencing.


Bauman agreed with the state.


“This case has been pending for a long time, and I can appreciate that argument,” he said. “However, there are a number of victims, and I am thereby inclined to remand Miller into custody.”


Miller wasn’t charged with victimizing any persons. Bauman and Lawson were alluding to the young boys in the photos and the other circumstances that led to the trial.

Bauman ordered Miller to register as a sex offender, but he didn’t indicate whether the mandatory registration would last 15 years or life.

There was brief discussion regarding whom would take the large amount of evidence. Lawson requested the court keep the material in case of an appeal but was denied.


Sentencing is scheduled for April 19 at the Kenai Courthouse.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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