Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 16, 2013

Former PSHS counselor pleads not guilty

By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A former Princeton Senior High School counselor who fled West Virginia after failing to appear for sentencing on child pornography and trafficking charges pleaded not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court.

Brett David Bowyer, 34, of Scarbro was apprehended June 12 in Florida after he was stopped for a traffic violation by the Florida State Highway Patrol. The trooper used a portable fingerprint scanner and learned Bowyer was wanted.

Bowyer pleaded guilty in October 2011 to child pornography and trafficking charges. In previous reports, Bowyer admitted that on Sept. 17, 2010, he knowingly possessed more than 600 images and videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Between June 8, 2010 and Aug. 11, 2010, Bowyer posted material involving the sexual exploitation on a website for public viewing, according to a previous statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Bowyer faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the charges, but he failed to appear for a sentencing hearing in May 2012.

Bowyer first appeared Monday in U.S. District Court before Magistrate R. Clarke VanDervort for an arraignment hearing on a charge of failure to appear for sentencing. Bowyer pleaded not guilty, and VanDervort remanded him to the U.S. Marshal.

The arraignment was followed almost immediately by a revocation hearing before U.S. District Judge David A. Faber.

“It seems obvious to me, based on what I know about the case, that the defendant was placed on pretrial release, violated bond, fled the state and was gone for a significant amount of time,” Faber said.

Faber revoked the bond Bowyer was under at the time he fled West Virginia. Bowyer will now be held without bond.

“The defendant has already fled once and remained at large,” Faber said. “The flight has showed he is unlikely to abide by any conditions.”