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March 19, 2014

Sentencing delayed in child porn case

Eric Dean Bryant had entered Alford plea to 4 counts

SOMERSET —  A McCreary Countian who entered an Alford plea to four counts of possession of child pornography saw his sentencing hearing delayed in Pulaski Circuit Court last week.

    Eric Dean Bryant, 25, of Whitley City, was expected to be sentenced last Tuesday, but his case has been continued until April 17. Prosecutors have recommended a 20-year sentence in connection with the case as well as Bryant’s placement on the national sex-offender registry.

    Bryant entered the Alford plea — meaning a defendant maintains his or her innocence but recognizes that enough evidence exists to bring about a conviction at trial — in July 2013. JailTracker records indicate that he has been lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center since July 2.

    The four counts involved in the plea agreement were amended down from 87 counts of promoting a sexual performance by a minor, which were handed down by a Pulaski County grand jury in 2012.

    The charges were based on an investigation that began in August 2010 after an undercover police officer in Wheaton, Ill., allegedly discovered that a suspect, later identified as Bryant, was sharing child pornography via the Internet. Officials in Wheaton contacted Pulaski County authorities after those files were traced back to a Bronston residence, where Bryant was living at the time.

      A number of items — including computers, CDs, flash drives and cell phones — were confiscated during the search and sent to the Kentucky State Police Computers Crimes Section in Frankfort, where forensic examiners found 87 images and videos depicting various children under the age of 16 engaged in different sexual acts.

    Bryant had also been arrested locally in January 2012 after an unrelated investigation into Bryant’s alleged exchange of pornographic materials with a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina. That case was reportedly not pursued pending the outcome of the Pulaski case.

In January of this year Bryant asked that he be permitted to withdraw his Alford plea. Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette denied that request. Promoting a sexual performance by a minor is a Class B felony which could have brought 10-20 years per count.

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Hatfield Lane 22 marijuana plants

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Office seized a total of 22 marijuana plants Saturday evening from a residence on Hatfield Lane in Whitley City. That case will be presented to the grand jury, but three individuals encountered during the investigation were arrested on unrelated charges.

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