Iowa Man Sentenced to 600 Months in Prison on Child Pornography Offenses
On January 27, 2012, Billy E. Nichols, Sr., 63, of Danville, Iowa, formerly of Montgomery County, Tennessee, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger to serve 50 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, announced Jerry E. Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The investigation of Nichols began in April 2009, after law enforcement officials with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office learned that Nichols had been taking nude photographs of a young child and collecting images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children.
As part of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized two computers, an external hard drive and 60 compact discs from Nichols’ home in Montgomery County, Tennessee. A forensic examiner with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office subsequently found approximately 3,000 images and more than 100 videos of child pornography on the computers and related media. Among the pornographic images discovered were a number of images of the victim, who had been approximately five to six years of age at the time Nichols took the pictures.
Testimony at the sentencing hearing revealed that Nichols not only had taken nude photographs of this young child on numerous occasions, but also that he had touched the child inappropriately when the child was approximately four years old. Additionally, Nichols’ collection of images and videos depicting the sexual exploitation of children included a significant number of pre-pubescent children, as well as videos of bondage and violence perpetrated against young children.
In addition to taking pictures of this child, it was also determined that Nichols had used a photo editing program to digitally alter images and had placed the head of another three to four- year- old victim onto the body of another child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Nichols was sentenced to the 30 year maximum on the production of child pornography count, to be served consecutively to the 20 year maximum on the receipt of child pornography count. He was further sentenced to serve the 10 year maximum on the counts for possession of child pornography and possession of morphed child pornography, which are to be served concurrent to the counts of production and receipt. In imposing the sentence, Judge Trauger noted that Nichols had shown no remorse, mentioning that he had been shaking his head negatively to testimony, statements, and comments made during the sentencing hearing. Judge Trauger referred to this as a “horrendous crime” and acknowledged that this was a life sentence for Nichols, but stated that it reflects the seriousness of the offense, promotes respect for the law, and acts as deterrence for others.
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