Man pleads guilty to producing child porn with 5-year-old

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A man who created child pornography with a 5-year-old girl last year pleaded guilty Thursday before a federal judge in Texarkana.

Aaron lloyd Mitchell, 21, appeared before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey for a hearing Thursday morning with Assistant Federal Public Defender Matthew Hill. Hickey initially addressed the issue of Mitchell’s competency.

Hill filed a motion for a psychological evaluation of Mitchell’s competency in January. Hickey granted the motion and a report concerning the findings was made available to the court in May. Hill said he did not intend to challenge the findings by mental health staff at the federal Bureau of Prisons which determined Mitchell is competent to stand trial and that he was competent at the time of the offense.

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Wulff said he and Hill began plea discussions after receiving the psychological report from the Bureau of Prisons. Hill said Mitchell was prepared to enter a plea of guilty to one count of the three counts in an indictment charging Mitchell with production of child pornography in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

Wulff said the government will move to dismiss the remaining two counts when Mitchell is brought back to court for sentencing in four to six months. In that time, the U.S. Probation Office will prepare a report meant to aid the judge at senencing. Mitchell faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30.

Mitchell could also be ordered to pay a fine up to $250,000. Mitchell has been in jail since his arrest in November 2018.

The first two counts of the indictment accuse Mitchell of creating pornographic 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.

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.

FBI agents arrested Mitchell on the Foreman property. He had deleted images and the Tumblr application from his phone moments before they arrived. The username Mitchell used on Tumblr referred to the sexual abuse of children.

As part of his plea agreement, Mitchell agreed to forfeit the iPhone he used to take pictures of himself with the girls. Mitchell must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

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