Williamsburg Man Sentenced to 185 Years for Child Porn Distribution, Possession

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Matthew John Stickle (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)
Matthew John Stickle (Photo courtesy Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail)

A Williamsburg man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography has been sentenced to 185 years in prison.

The decision by Judge Michael McGinty in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court Monday afternoon was based on a jury recommendation.

In December, a jury found 44-year-old Matthew Stickle guilty of one charge of possession of child pornography, two charges of a second or subsequent offense of possession of child pornography and 22 charges of possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.

The jury recommended a sentence of three years each for the three possession of child pornography charges and eight years each for the intent to distribute charges.

Before McGinty announced his decision, the prosecution and the defense offered different interpretations of the jury’s recommendation.

WJCC Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green asked the court to follow the jury’s recommendation, noting it exceeded the mandatory minimum of 110 years in prison.

Defense attorney Patricia Nagel argued the jury’s consistent recommendation of eight years for intent to distribute and three years for possession could “reasonably be interpreted” as a concurrent sentence. If so, the jury may have intended a sentence of 11 years in prison, rather than 185.

McGinty did not accept Nagel’s interpretation and opted for the 185-year sentence. The maximum sentence for all charges was 440 years.

The sentencing comes a year after Stickle, who only faced the 22 distribution charges at the time, was granted a jury trial. The trial last June ended in a hung jury – according to a note to McGinty, jurors were “stuck at a vote of 11 to 1 and there was ‘no chance’ of the one vote changing.”

A second trial took place in December and included the three charges of possession. Stickle pleaded not guilty to all 25 charges but the three-day trial ended with all guilty verdicts.

Stickle was arrested Dec. 27, 2013, after investigators from the Williamsburg Police Department received a report about the distribution of child pornography. A computer forensics scan of Stickle’s laptop revealed a “substantial amount” of child pornography, according to Maj. Greg Riley of the Williamsburg Police Department.

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