Hot Springs Man Sentenced To 180 Years In Prison

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LITTLE ROCK – A Garland County jury sentenced a Hot Springs man to 180 years in prison on Thursday after finding him guilty of multiple felony child exploitation charges, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today.

John David Ross, 40, was convicted on 16 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony, one count of permitting the abuse of a minor, a Class B felony, and one count of bestiality, a Class A misdemeanor.

Ross was sentenced to 10 years in prison on each of the child-pornography charges and 20 years in prison on the abuse charge, with the sentences running consecutively. A sentence of one year in jail on the bestiality count will run concurrently with the prison sentences.

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Garland County Circuit Court Judge Marcia Hearnsberger presided over the two-day trial. The jury deliberated for about 30 minutes before reaching the guilty verdicts.

“I am grateful to the jury for imposing the maximum sentence on a man who victimized our most innocent citizens, our children, through his reprehensible conduct,” McDaniel said. “Those who would engage in this type of criminal activity in Arkansas should know that their actions will not be tolerated by our juries, our law enforcement agencies or our people.”

Ross was arrested in June 2013 at his residence in the 1200 block of Richard Street in Hot Springs, following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. Investigators confiscated a laptop computer and other electronic evidence at the time of the arrest.

Amanda Desaray Hartle, 34, of Hot Springs was also arrested at that time on similar charges. Hartle’s trial is scheduled for December.

Ross is being held in the Garland County Detention Center awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

He will be required to register as a sex offender.

Special Agents Chris Cone and Jeff Shackelford of the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit testified for the State. Assistant Attorney General Will Jones and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Terri Harris of 18th-East Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Steve Oliver’s office represented the State at trial.

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