AP NEWS

Bullhead City man convicted of child porn skips court

March 6, 2019

KINGMAN — A Bullhead City man faces a century-long prison sentence following child pornography-related convictions at his trial in Kingman.

But after Joseph McClinton, 47, failed to return to court for the reading of the verdict in his case in Mohave County Superior Court last week, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

A jury deliberated a little less than an hour before finding McClinton guilty on all 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Bullhead City police assisted when Homeland Security agents monitoring suspicious computer activity seized electronic devices during a Feb. 1, 2017, search of McClinton’s home in the 4300 block of La Mesa Road. Forensic analysis discovered storage of a compilation of child porn that prompted McClinton’s arrest and prosecution.

Before the jury deliberations began, Judge Rick Lambert denied defense attorney Robin Puchek’s motion for direct verdicts of acquittal based on contention that the state had not met necessary burdens of proof.

“The court finds that there is sufficient evidence for convictions on all counts,” Lambert countered.

Backing up his ruling, Lambert said McClinton displayed significant computer savvy and sophistication when making admissions during an interview with Homeland Security agents. The judge noted that McClinton labeled a child porn storage file full of disturbing videos as “PEDO”, a reference Lambert said the defendant used to brand himself a pedophile.

The judge said McClinton used the acronym of “PTHC” when he told investigators he conducted searches for Pre-Teen Hard Core porn material. Audience members in court awaiting another hearing gasped as Lambert described videos downloaded by McClinton that showed victims as young as 1-year-old being subjected to a myriad of sexual activity.

McClinton was present for the morning portion of the final day of his trial but did not return after a break. He was absent when the verdicts were read and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Prosecutor Greg McPhillips said McClinton, if captured, faces state-mandated 10-year prison terms for each of the convictions to be served consecutively, making it a 100-year sentence.