Victoria man guilty of possessing, promoting child porn

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

June 6, 2014 at 1:06 a.m.

Jurors took exactly one hour Friday to convict a Victoria man of 10 counts of promotion of child pornography and four counts of possession of child pornography.

During closing statements, Assistant District Attorney Johna Stallings said law enforcement began tracking the online activities of defendant Jason Terrence Leita on July 22, 2012.

Initially, they suspected his neighbor, Rene Figueroa.

Authorities later determined that Leita, 39, had been using Figueroa's open Wi-Fi, and Figueroa was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Stallings said that within 24 hours of investigators setting up another, open Wi-Fi, a computer named "Jason's HP" began downloading child pornography.

When Leita's home on Pennsylvania Avenue was searched Aug. 1, 2012, they found a program called "Shareaza" downloading child pornography and capable of sharing it with others.

A subsequent forensic evaluation of his laptop uncovered 87 photos and 220 videos of child pornography.

Although Leita's mother, Linda Jonckers, testified she oversaw her son's finances because he has the IQ of a 12-year-old and has trouble reading, she acknowledged Leita bought the laptop at Office Depot on Black Friday in 2011 using money and a membership card she didn't know he had.

"His mother lacks total credibility," Stallings said, also pointing out Leita worked and underwent training at Berry Plastics that would have been difficult if he couldn't read. "She is going to rationalize and mislead to save her son."

Defense attorney M.P. "Dexter" Eaves, meanwhile, said law enforcement was so encumbered with high-tech gadgets, they forgot to do good, solid investigating, such as ensuring no one except Leita entered the house for at least 24 hours before executing the search warrant.

A board on the fence between Figueroa's and Leita's houses was broken, and Jonckers testified that if a person jiggled Leita's locked side door, it would come open.

She also noticed after coming home from camping trips that a Sprite and a remote-controlled car had been moved on Leita's kitchen table, indicating someone had been inside.

A towel underneath the kitchen table, where the laptop sat, should have been tested for DNA, and the laptop's hard drive and keyboard and mouse should have been dusted for fingerprints, Eaves said.

"I would submit to you that there is some work to be done yet with our cybercrime unit," Eaves said. "As Mr. Figueroa will tell you, it is not that great. It can still mess up and get the wrong guy."

Judge Robert C. Cheshire will determine Leita's punishment.

The punishment phase of the trial began Friday afternoon and is expected to continue Monday.

Promotion of child pornography is a second-degree felony that is punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony that is punishable by two to 10 years in prison.



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