The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 10, 2013

Neosho man gets 14-year sentence on porn charges

NEOSHO, Mo. — A Neosho man with nearly 1,000 videos and images of child pornography on his computer was sentenced in federal court Thursday for receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

Dustin William Merriman, 26, of Neosho, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to 14 years in federal prison without parole.

According to a news release from Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Merriman, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2012, was identified in two separate and unrelated investigations into the distribution of child pornography over the Internet conducted by the FBI in El Paso, Texas, and the New Zealand National Police.

Law enforcement officers confronted Merriman at his workplace, where he admitted that he had hundreds of videos and images of child pornography on his laptop, which was kept in a locker at work. A Joplin police detective searched the laptop and located more than 1,000 video files. The average age of the children depicted in the videos was between 5 and 7 years old.

Merriman was arrested and officers seized his cellphone, which also contained child pornography.

According to Dickinson, investigators conducted a full forensics examination of Merriman’s laptop computer and discovered 386 movies of child pornography and 560 images of child pornography.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Joplin Police Department and the New Zealand National Police.

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