The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

February 28, 2014

Jury convicts defendant in child pornography case

NEOSHO, Mo. — Jurors deliberated for almost four hours Friday before convicting a rural Joplin man of sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual misconduct involving a child.

A jury returned the verdicts against Richard D. McNabb II, 35, at the conclusion of a three-day trial in Newton County Circuit Court.

A 16-year-old girl testified at the trial that McNabb took nude photographs of her on two occasions when she was 9 or 10 years old.

She told the court that he convinced her to pose for the photographs by showing her a letter wanting to know if she wished to be a rock star and suggesting that, if she did, she should send the letter writer some nude photographs of herself. McNabb offered to take the pictures and send them in for her, she testified.

Since she entertained a desire to be a rock star at that point in her childhood, she allowed him to take pictures of her, she said. Later, he told her that he’d lost the photos before managing to get them sent off and convinced her to let him take another set of pictures to forward her desire to become a rock star.

On yet another occasion when she was about the same age, the defendant invited her into a bedroom, where he performed a sexual act in front of her, she told the court.

About two years later, when the victim was 12 years old, she disclosed the matter to her maternal grandmother, which led to her mother and law enforcement being informed, and she was interviewed at the Children’s Center in Joplin.

McNabb took the witness stand to deny the girl’s allegations, insisting that he had never taken any pictures of her despite Assistant Prosecutor Bill Dobbs having introduced into evidence photographs of the girl found on the hard drive of a computer that had been used by the defendant.

The computer was turned in to the Newton County sheriff’s office a few months after the girl’s initial disclosure. The computer was sent to a crime lab, where the pictures, which had been deleted, eventually were discovered on the hard drive, but not before the defendant accepted a plea offer in 2012.

The Newton County prosecutor’s office offered to dismiss the exploitation and misconduct charges if McNabb would plead guilty to possession of child pornography and he initially took the deal. But he later asked to be allowed to withdraw his plea and go to trial, and the request was granted by Circuit Judge Tim Perigo, who subsequently recused himself from the case.

McDonald County Circuit Judge John LePage took over and presided at this week’s trial. The judge has set a sentencing hearing for April 23.

Penalty range

Richard McNabb is facing the possibility of 10 to 30 years, or up to life, as punishment for taking nude photographs of a child.

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