Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – While charges against a local man accused of having thousands of pornographic images have been dismissed in Marshall County Circuit Court, Commonwealth Attorney Mark Blankenship says the case isn’t over.
James Todd Hill, 42, was arrested in March on multiple counts of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by minor. Hill, of Gilbertsville, is believed to have utilized file sharing in a peer-to-peer network to transfer illegal images. Authorities seized two computers, five hard drives, an iPhone, one floppy disc, one smart card and 11 CDs beleived to contain pornographic images.
After being arrested March 30 following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Cybercrimes Unit and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Hill was released on a $7,000 bond.
On Monday, the defense and Commonwealth Attorney’s office agreed to dismiss the charges locally as the U.S. Attorney’s office begins prosecution of the case.
“Any time there’s more than 500 images, federal prosecution tends to come in and work the case,” Blankenship said. “They have better resources and, in many cases, the punishment is greater.”
Authorities believe Hill had more than 2,000 pornographic images of minors on his computer.
Assistant United States Attorney David Sparks of the western district has been assigned to prosecute the case. According to Stephanie Collins with the US Attorney’s Office, Hill was indicted on federal charges Sept. 13 and arraigned by Judge David King. A detention hearing was held Oct. 13, after which Hill posted a $50,000 bond and was released.
Hill is currently charged with five counts and, if convicted, could face life in prison.