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Matthew John Stickle will face three additional counts of possession of child pornography in his upcoming trial, bringing the total charges against him to 25 felonies.
The June 2015 trial against Stickle, of Williamsburg, was declared a mistrial when it ended in a hung jury.
The prosecution and defense returned to court Wednesday to argue whether charges regarding three videos in which Stickle is allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a minor should be considered in the same trial as the possession and distribution of child pornography offenses.
The last time around, Stickle’s defense attorney, Patricia Nagel, successfully argued the content of those three videos – found in a different folder on Stickle’s computer than the other 22 videos and images – was “highly prejudicial” and therefore they should not be considered in tandem with his other charges.
The key difference between the two groups of videos and images is that, while all 25 portray minors engaging in sexual acts, Stickle himself only appears in the three videos not considered in the first trial.
Nagel, who previously made the case there was a reasonable possibility roommates of Stickle’s had access to his computer and could be responsible for downloading the child pornography onto it, argued the jury would be unduly prejudiced against Stickle if they were asked to consider the videos and images in which he is allegedly taking part in illicit acts along with ones he downloaded from the internet.
The prosecution argued all of the charges were similar enough that they should be considered together. Both sets of documents allegedly depict child pornography, both were found on Stickle’s computer and both have resulted in charges of possession of child pornography.
The prosecution plans to argue the separate folders indicate intent to share the larger batch of documents, which supports the 22 charges of possession with intent to distribute child pornography.
Because the folder containing the 22 documents was linked to file-sharing software and the other folder containing the three videos in which Stickle is allegedly participating was not, the prosecution hopes to make the case that taking the action to separate these documents constitutes an intent to distribute.
Judge H. Bruce Long ruled in favor of the prosecution.
Stickle’s new three-day jury trial is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 21.