A Billings man has admitted federal charges that he received child pornography on his computer but denied fleeing to avoid arrest and disputed the number and nature of the images.

David Keith Merriman, 57, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Billings to receipt of child porn from 2004 until 2010. He also agreed to forfeit his computer equipment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia Hurd said that in January 2010, a Missoula police detective found that a computer user in Billings had child porn videos to share.

An FBI investigation led to Merriman, who had been a suspect in a 2004 child porn case in Yellowstone County, Hurd said. FBI agents served a search warrant on Merriman's residence in April 2010 and seized and examined his computer equipment. More than 101 videos and more than 4,200 child porn images were found, Hurd said. The images and movies showed masochistic or sadistic behavior and involved prepubescent children, she said.

The prosecutor also said Merriman told an acquaintance in July 2010 that he had fled Billings to avoid arrest and was arrested later in another state. Court records said Merriman was arrested in New Mexico in August 2010.

The number of images, the nature and age of the children, and whether Merriman fled are factors that could enhance the sentencing guideline range.

Merriman faces a minimum mandatory five to 20 years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull set sentencing for June 20. Merriman remains in custody.

 

 

Angry
0
Sad
0
Funny
0
Wow
0
Love
0

Locations

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.