WASHINGTON – Willoughby Warren Colonna IV, 28, of Chesapeake, Va., pleaded guilty today in Norfolk, Va., to one count of transporting child pornography via the Internet, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Chuck Rosenberg announced. Colonna was then sentenced to serve 12 years in prison, to be followed by ten years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. He was immediately taken into custody.
Colonna’s guilty plea concerns crimes that were initially uncovered in March 2004, when an undercover FBI operation determined that “maryanna,” an individual later identified as Colonna, was using a home computer to operate an illegal Internet file-sharing system. The illegal system offered access to images and videos of child pornography, including depictions of prepubescent children being subjected to sex acts by adult men or teenagers. An FBI agent in Buffalo, N.Y., downloaded four illegal videos from the illegal file-sharing system on March 5, 2004. After confirming where the illegal system was located, agents in the FBI’s Norfolk division seized the system and its contents from Colonna’s bedroom when they executed a search warrant at the home where he lived on June 24, 2004. Colonna was then charged with ten counts involving the transportation, advertisement and possession of child pornography.
Colonna testified at his criminal trial and in an underlying pretrial suppression hearing which preceded the trial. He was convicted on all ten counts on Aug. 18, 2006, and sentenced to serve 17½ years in prison, but his convictions were subsequently reversed and remanded for trial. As his child pornography case was proceeding towards re-trial, he was charged separately on Jan. 25, 2008, with obstruction of justice and perjury related to statements he gave under oath during the suppression hearing and his trial. He has now pleaded guilty to one of the ten counts for which the jury convicted him in 2006, and the other charges against him have been dismissed.
The statement of facts supporting Colonna’s guilty plea, which Colonna signed and the court accepted, indicates forensic analysis of the illegal file-sharing system’s hard drive established that the system housed a child pornography collection of more than 400 illegal movies and 300 illegal images. In addition, the statement of facts indicates the forensic analysis also uncovered evidence of various Internet activities linked solely to Colonna, such as e-mail, online gaming, online banking and bill payment, and involvement in social networking sites, including one such site where Colonna posted his photograph.
This prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Moore and Trial Attorney Michael Yoon of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). The FBI handled the investigation and preliminary computer forensic analysis with additional computer forensic analysis performed by the CEOS’s High Tech Investigative Unit.