Porn, Kidnapping, Shooting Cases On Court Docket

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Cases involving a 73-year-old man suspected of having images of child pornography on his computer, an attempted murder in Tonto Basin and the alleged kidnapping and molestation of a child, will go before the Gila County Superior Court in Payson in the next two weeks.

Below is brief synopsis of each.

• Child pornography: The trial of a 73-year-old man arraigned on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor Oct. 3, 2009 has not yet started, but attorneys will meet with the judge Aug. 16 to plan the trial.

Evidence from the man’s computer and thumb drives, reportedly holding dozens of images of underage children, is still under analysis. In addition, witnesses are still being interviewed by the defense.

According to a police report, on Oct. 2, computer technicians reportedly found pornographic images of underage girls in the backup folder of the data drive on the man’s computer.

When police searched the man’s home, they found a flash drive holding several pictures of young girls under 18 years old, a paper titled, “How to hide porn on your computer” and another paper showing how to find images of young girls.

The man told Payson Police Detective Matt Van Camp that he had nothing to do with the images and that they appeared because of a virus.

A case management conference with Judge Peter Cahill has been set for 11 a.m., Aug. 16 in Payson.

It is the Roundup’s policy not to name victims or suspects in sex crimes. Suspects will only be identified after a conviction.

• Kidnapping, molestation: A case management hearing for an 18-year-old charged with kidnapping, child molestation and sexual assault will be held at 11 a.m., Aug. 9 in Payson with Judge Cahill.

County prosecutors Patti Wortman and Ramai Alvarez allege that in September 2009, the teen knowingly restrained an underage victim with the intent to inflict a sexual offense, and engaged in non-consensual sexual contact with the victim.

• Attempted murder: Ronald Hughes Johns, 69, charged with attempted first-degree murder of his neighbor, Loren Eaton, 52, appeared in a Globe courtroom Monday at a case management conference. Johns is also charged with aggravated assault, cruelty to animals and misconduct involving weapons.

Police say Johns fired two shots at Eaton, hitting Eaton once in the back of the head with the other bullet striking one of Eaton’s horses. The horse was euthanized and Eaton was taken to a Valley hospital with serious injuries to his face and jaw.

The shooting took place in an easement area that the men had been fighting over for several years, investigators said.

The next case management conference is at 9:30 a.m., Aug. 16 in Globe.

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