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Arkansas man gets 20 years in prison after guilty plea in child porn case

By Tracy Neal

This article was published December 5, 2016 at 1:25 p.m.

BENTONVILLE — A Bella Vista man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Jeffrey Owen Smith, 43, pleaded guilty Monday to 10 counts of distributing, possession or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class C felony. The plea was under a agreement that Smith’s attorney Shane Wilkinson reached with Stuart Cearley, chief deputy prosecutor.

Cearley agreed to dismiss 10 other counts as part of the plea agreement.

Smith was arrested Oct. 12, 2015.

The Cyber Crime Division of the Benton County sheriff’s office began the investigation in April 2015 concerning the sharing of child pornography. Detectives were able to trace the computer to Smith’s Bella Vista home, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Detectives executed a search warrant Sept. 1, 2015, at Smith’s residence, according to court documents.

Smith denied viewing child pornography when first questioned by detectives, investigators said.

According to the affidavit, Smith later admitted to watching child pornography and then deleting the material. Smith told detectives that there would be search terms on his computer related to child pornography and reported to detectives that he had been viewing child pornography for about six months.

According to the affidavit, multiple videos and photographs of child porn were found on Smith’s computer.

Circuit Judge Robin Green accepted the plea agreement and Smith’s guilty pleas.

Smith was sentenced to 20 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. He must abide by a suspended sentence agreement for seven years after his release from prison.

He will be required to register as a sex offender. Smith was ordered to complete the prison’s sex offender treatment program or a similar one after his release from prison.

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