Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

April 22, 2014

Man faces 20 years for porn depicting minors

BLUEFIELD — A Mercer County man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.   

Eric A. Hitt, 29, of Princeton, entered a guilty plea before Senior United States District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.

Hitt, was arrested on July 16, 2013 following an investigation by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and an investigator with the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Hitt was arraigned the following day by Mercer County Magistrate Sandra Dorsey who set a $10,000 cash/surety bond, and the defendant was released.

Hitt admitted that on July 16, 2013, he possessed pictures of prepubescent minors engaged in sexual acts. The images were located on his personal computer.

The court scheduled sentencing for August 25 in Bluefield.

The indictment alleges that Hitt possessed computer graphic image files “that involved prepubescent minors and which had been shipped and transported in an affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including a computer.”

Along with the single-count of the indictment, the court document includes a “forfeiture” count, requiring the defendant to “forfeit to the United States any visual depiction and any books, magazines, periodicals, films, videotapes” as part of the indictment as well as a Seagate Barracuda 1 TB hard drive and a Western Digital external hard drive.

The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston is in charge of the prosecution.

This case is being brought forward as part of U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s ongoing initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse in the Southern District of West Virginia.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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