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.

1
Text Only
Area News
  • lver-greg morris.jpg New veterans rep joins Career Center staff

    The Tennessee Career Center in Crossville now has more resources available to assist veterans seeking employment. The center recently hired Gregory Morris as a local veterans employment representative (LVER) to work with both unemployed veterans as well as employers seeking job applicants.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Richard Lemert.jpg Lemert pays visit to Crossville

    Richard Milo Lemert, (left) great nephew of Milo Lemert of Crossville, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, is pictured with L.T. Thurman Jr. It was Richard Lemert's first visit to Crossville and during his brief stay, he stopped by the Milo Lemert Building on Main St. and viewed the plaque that was placed in honor of his great uncle. Milo Lemert was married to Nell Snodgrass of Crossville and was killed in action on their first wedding anniversary. Thurman's father, Litton T. Thurman Sr., received the Distinguished Service Cross in the same WWI battle that Lemert was awarded the nation's highest honor. Richard Lemert resides in Raleigh, NC, and is planning to attend the Medal of Honor Convention in Knoxville Sept. 10-13.
     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2558.jpg Understanding the structure of addiction and recovery

    Bradford Health Services hosted a free workshop Friday for area agencies on the structure of addiction and recovery. Robbie Keeble who is recovery liaison for Bradford, was the featured speaker. With rates of substance abuse so prevalent in the Crossville area, several local agencies arranged to instruct participants on how addiction works in the brain and the process that those struggling with addiction need to take in order to recover successfully. There were 94 attendees in all, including several social service agencies, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, businesses and concerned citizens. If you are interested in attending or hosting a future training on matters related to substance abuse, contact Bradford Health Services at (931) 528-6803.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • TMSAA rules get one-year try out

    Changes are coming for the elementary sports programs next year, with a 6-3 vote of the Cumberland County Board of Education. That vote of support of recommendations from the athletic committee was met with concerns from board members that the move towards county-wide rules and regulations was an attempt to move toward middle school teams.

    July 28, 2014 1 Video

  • ffg fire 1.jpg Fire damages home in Fairfield Glade

    Not only did Fairfield Glade volunteer fire fighters battle a blaze Saturday afternoon at 107 Runnymede Rd., hot weather conditions were a challenge as well.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Banned ex-boyfriend arrested in break-in

    Last Tuesday turned out to not be burglary and assault suspect Larry D. Durbin's day. It wasn't such a great day for his victim, either. Both were arrested.

    July 28, 2014

  • Changes to county wage scale cause debate

    County commissioners approved revisions to the Cumberland County employee wage scale, giving county employees a pay increase, but the changes to the scale created a brief debate among commissioners Monday evening.

    July 28, 2014

  • Suspects identified in arson fire

    Two Cumberland County men were detained and questioned in connection with an early Friday morning fire that destroyed or damaged two tractor-trailer rigs and a pickup parked at a closed business north of the city.

    July 28, 2014

  • Summer winding down in Tennessee

    July 25, 2014

  • Celebrating a year of writing our area's history

    Now that this column has passed its first birthday, I’d like to send thanks to those of you from our county and around the country who have sent messages and questions about things you’ve read in the Uncle Gib section. It is hard to cover many of these events in 500 words, and I try not go cover the same event more than three weeks. Research must be cut way down, and the most interesting information on each subject included.

    July 25, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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