Victoria man sentenced to 30 years in child porn case
By BY JESSICA PRIEST - JPRIEST@VICAD.COM
June 12, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.
Updated June 13, 2014 at 1:13 a.m.
A Victoria man convicted of possessing and promoting child pornography was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison.
Judge Robert C. Cheshire handed Jason Terrence Leita 10 20-year prison sentences for promoting child pornography, four 10-year prison sentences for possessing child pornography and a $10,000 fine.
The 20-year sentences will run concurrently. After he's finished his 20 years in prison, then he'll start his 10-year sentences, which also will run concurrently.
Leita, 39, may be eligible for parole while completing his 10-year sentences.
The defense asked for probation while the state asked for the all the sentences to be staked.
"With the amount of evidence that was available in this case - and it was pretty overwhelming - I was pleased actually with the sentence that the judge gave," Leita's attorney, M.P. "Dexter" Eaves said. "It could have very well been 240 years, which was my fear and what I was really fighting against."
Leita was arrested at his home on Pennsylvania Avenue on Aug. 1, 2012, after a joint task force comprised of Victoria police officers and Victoria County sheriff's deputies discovered he was using his neighbor's unprotected Wi-Fi Internet connection to download child pornography.
Assistant District Attorney Johna Stallings commended law enforcement and the jury, who deliberated for about an hour last week, for their hard work.
"I'm thrilled the jurors were able to understand such technical evidence," she said.
She said the case will send a message that Victoria County residents will not tolerate this type of crime nor will they be duped into thinking one can remain anonymous behind a laptop.
"It's also not just probation," Stallings said. "It doesn't matter if you have a criminal history or not, we're going to be going after prison time and asking for consecutive sentences regularly."
During the sentencing portion, the state called Leita's former neighbor, Rene Figueroa.
Photos and video Leita surreptitiously took of his neighbors and of women and children sunbathing and swimming were also admitted into evidence, Stallings said.
The defense, meanwhile, called Leita's family members and pastor as well as a psychologist.
The psychologist, who works in Austin, spent five hours with Leita and found after running some reading and math tests, that he was on a skill level of a child between 8 and 13 years old, Eaves said.
Leita's mother, Linda Jonckers, previously testified that her son was in special education when he was younger.
"He (the doctor) pointed out - and I think the judge took note of it - that it's really hard to fake that. ... It's hard to fake your whole educational experience," Eaves said.