Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

December 10, 2013

Child pornography case headed to trial

CROSSVILLE — A man who admitted to an investigator that he possessed on his computer images depicting children in settings of a sexual nature — described by an investigator as child pornography — appears headed for a jury trial.

Neal Alan Blair, 37, of Martin Burgess Rd., had his effort to suppress his voluntary statement to an investigator in the case rejected. The challenge of the search warrant became a non-issue when Deputy District Attorney Gary McKenzie told Judge David Patterson the state obtained no evidence from the search of a search engine provider.

Blair was indicted by the Cumberland County Grand Jury in March on aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor — more than 100 images.

Only witness for the state during the hour-long hearing was Cookeville Police Department Det. Bobby Anderson who works with the Internet Crimes Against Children unit in the Upper Cumberland area under the supervision of the Knoxville Police Department.

Anderson testified that he received an anonymous tip claiming that a certain email address had exchanged child pornography using a Yahoo email account. A search warrant was obtained and a "snap shot" revealed the IP address from where the email had been sent.

That led to the home of Blair's mother where Blair also lives. Armed with a search warrant, Anderson went to the residence to seize a laptop computer. The computer surrendered did not reveal any child pornography on it. Blair was not home, but upon return he traveled to the Cookeville Police Department on May 3, 2011, and surrendered another laptop computer.

Anderson testified that Blair was cooperative and, after being given a Miranda warning advising him of his rights, the detective said Blair gave him a statement admitting to possessing and distributing images of child pornography.

Defense attorney Jeff Vires questioned the investigator as to who made the complaint, and asked whether Blair appeared sleep deprived when giving his statement. At one point, Blair asked if he was headed to jail. The detective said he told the suspect, "You are not going to jail today."

He added that the interview was voluntary and informal and that Blair was free to leave at any point during the visit.

Blair took the stand and testified that he had worked a full shift at his place of employment, working the night shift, and then attended classes for more than five hours. He then traveled to the Cookeville Police Department, all without sleep.

He said he felt pressure and was scared he would end up in jail.

Patterson ruled there was nothing to suppress relating to the Yahoo search warrant, because nothing was seized and because the state had already told the court there would be no evidence as a result of the search.

McKenzie said the state's position was that evidence gleaned from the computer and the confession "has nothing to do with the Yahoo search warrant" and should be allowed as evidence in trial.

Patterson agreed and, after issuing his ruling, he set Blair's trial for March 26.

Text Only
Area News
  • rendezvous.jpg TSRA starts spring off with paddling trips

    About 150 members of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) recently gathered April 2-6 in Crossville at Camp Nakanawa for the Annual TWRA Rendezvous.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel recommends using third-party billing for old EMS bills

    The budget committee approved hiring the same third party billing company to help go through older EMS ambulance service bills to resubmit them to help the EMS department get caught up with billing collections.

    April 19, 2014

  • Sales tax collections down

    Cumberland County Finance Director Nathan Brock reported to the Cumberland County Budget Committee that local option sales tax collections have fallen below budgeted projections for the 2013-'14 fiscal year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Motion to toss evidence in burglary denied

    A defense motion to have evidence seized by deputies searching for a man who fled warrant service thrown out failed when deputies testified they had oral permission from the defendant's son to search the residence the father and son share.

    April 18, 2014

  • donate life.jpg Organ donation gives man new lease on life

    Travis Hodges has a new lease on life, thanks to a selfless gift a young father made the year before.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fireworks, sign change get council OK

    While the April Crossville City Council meeting was generally a calm one, there were some fireworks on the agenda.

    April 18, 2014

  • quackers at the library.jpg Spring jamboree

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect charged in Sportsman Club break-in

    A Crossville man has been arrested and charged in connection with the burglary of a shooting club's building in the county that occurred last week, according to arrest reports.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel discusses auditing hotel/motel tax collections

    Commissioners on the budget committee discussed the possibility of auditing hotels and motels in the county regarding the collection of hotel/motel tax collection figures being down.

    April 17, 2014

  • Repent burglar must serve time

    Some defendants cry, because they get caught, and others are tearful with remorse. No one in the courtroom doubted Robert Killeen's sincerity when he apologized to his victim, his loved ones and supporters for committing crimes against an elderly widow, stealing the money her late husband left her.

    April 17, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice