Man accused of producing child pornography to undergo mental evaluation

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A man accused of sharing photos of himself online engaged in the sexual abuse of girls ages 5 and 13 was ordered Wednesday to undergo a psychological evaluation by a federal judge in Texarkana.

Aaron Lloyd Mitchell, 21, pleaded not guilty in December to all three counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of the production of child pornography. The first two counts of the indictment accuse Mitchell of creating images with the 5-year-old while she was wearing “Hello Kitty” and “Doughnut” panties on different dates between Sept. 1 and Nov. 3. The third count of the indictment alleges Mitchell photographed a part of his own body with the 13-year-old asleep in the background in the same date range.

Mitchell was in a relationship with the 5-year-old’s mother and had been living with them on property in Foreman for several months. The 13-year-old is the daughter of a friend of the 5-year-old’s mother and often spent the night at the house.

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Earlier this week, Mitchell’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matt Hill, filed a motion asking that the court order a psychological evaluation to determine if Mitchell’s is competent to stand trial. The motion states that Hill is concerned that Mitchell is suffering from suicidal ideations and depression which may interfere with his ability to fully comprehend the proceedings and his ability to assist his attorney in preparing a defense.

The motion was granted Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. According to the order, Mitchell’s trial date of Jan. 30 will be put on hold until the court has received a report on the findings of the mental evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, the court will set the case for a competency hearing to determine if the case should again move forward.

FBI Agents were notified Nov. 3 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that they had received an anonymous cyber-tip that someone was posting sexually explicit photos involving a child. The tip said the poster of the images may be currently molesting a 5-year-old as well as a 13-year-old girl.

Another tip was received Nov. 5 and appeared to contain images identical to those posted earlier. Using image analysis, officials were able to determine that the photos were taken with an iPhone 7 Plus, posted online with the Tumblr app, and were able to identify the location where the photos originated.

Mitchell was arrested Nov. 21. He is currently being held in the Miller County jail. Mitchell is facing a minimum of 15 years in federal prison on each count if found guilty. He is being held in federal custody without bond.

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