A jury of six men and six women convicted a Williamsburg man of possessing and distributing child pornography and recommended a sentence that would be longer than four times his age.
Matthew John Stickle, 44, was found guilty of 25 felony charges – 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 found him guilty of all charges and offered a sentence recommendation that equates to 185 years in prison – three years each for the three possession of child pornography charges and eight years each for the intent to distribute charges.
He faced a minimum of 110 years and up to 440 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
Judge Michael McGinty will make a final ruling on Stickle’s sentence at 9 a.m. Feb. 24.
Williamsburg-James City County Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green praised the jury for a fair sentence that represents “just what the community thinks” people who distribute child pornography deserve.
During the three-day trial, the jury heard testimony from Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Little, the lead investigator on the case, that more than 500 files of child pornography were found on Stickle’s computer.
Stickle was charged on 25 of those files, three of which showed Stickle engaging in sexual acts with a 10-year-old boy after he is seen positioning the camera. It is believed all 25 videos were either shot or downloaded while Stickle was living in New York, where he grew up, but investigators discovered the pornography on his computer while he was living with his fiancée in the City of Williamsburg.
The jury saw footage from one of those videos – not one in which Stickle appeared – and then heard oral testimony from Little that described the others.
They also heard from Stickle’s ex-fiancée, a teacher who testified she was unaware of the videos on his computer. Though Patricia Nagel, Stickle’s attorney, accused her of being a suspect because she had access to his computer, the ex-fiancée maintained she only once used his computer to do work.
Witness testimony also included Stickle’s childhood friend who said many people had access to Stickle’s computer, a forensics expert who testified it would be impossible to know exactly who put the footage on the computer, and a man who identified his son as the boy who appeared in the sexually explicit videos with Stickle.
“These results are especially satisfying because I know the sentencing today will keep a young boy in New York from having to go through the horrors of a trial in order to make sure justice is done,” Green said.
This week’s trial is the second for the case against Stickle, as a hung jury in June’s proceedings led to a mistrial. The investigation began in September 2013 with the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office.
“While I was the one at the table, this is a win for our entire office. Everyone was doing countless tasks behind the scenes to make sure we were putting our best foot forward,” said Green, who gave special recognition to former WJCC Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Maureen Kufro for her work on the case leading up to her departure and Little for his “thorough” investigation.
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