Disturbing evidence shakes jury in child pornography case
Jan 10, 2013 (The Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Brazos County jurors Wednesday heard from a former investigator who testified that he discovered more than 350 images depicting child pornography on the home computer of a 37-year-old Bryan man whose trial began this week.
Nivlac Simmons is facing five charges of possession of child pornography and if convicted could receive between two to 20 years on each of the third-degree felony counts.
Prosecutors Jessica Escue and Jason Goss called on Nathan McCune, a former investigator with the Brazos County District Attorney's Office, as a key witness to explain the steps he took in retrieving the illegal files from Simmons' hard drive in 2008.
Local officials were tipped off about Simmons' alleged collection of disturbing images by an out-of-state FBI agent who was working undercover to catch online child pornography users when he stumbled upon Simmons' shared files on Limewire.
On Tuesday, eight photos that the agent had uncovered were shown to the nine female and three male jurors, several of whom were visibly uncomfortable.
The signs of uneasiness were even more apparent Wednesday as two videos McCune testified had been downloaded to Simmons' computer were presented -- both showing a child age five or younger and the body parts of adult males.
One woman began noticeably crying before the TV screen had even been set up to play the first video, while another began shaking at the sight of the video. By the time prosecutors were done showing the selected segments -- about 10 seconds of each video was shown -- at least five of the jurors had tissues in hand and appeared to be wiping away tears. Several others on the panel simply refused to look at the screen while the evidence was being played.
District Judge Travis Bryan III dismissed the jury shortly after the evidence was presented. McCune will be back on the stand Thursday morning as Escue finishes up her questioning and Simmons' attorneys, Jim James and David Hilburn, have an opportunity for cross-examination.
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