A 39-year-old Little Rock man was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to stalking a minor online last year.
Joshua Stockton was arrested during an internet sex sting conducted in August by the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office.
Stockton pleaded guilty Wednesday in Faulkner County Circuit Court and was sentenced to eight years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with an additional 12-year suspended sentence.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews said it's important for those who commit these crimes to serve time in prison as authorities work to protect our community's children.
"Protecting our children from predators is one of the highest priorities of the prosecutor's office," she said Wednesday. "Unfortunately, men like this exist, but they will continue to find that we will work tirelessly with law enforcement and the court system to ensure that they end up behind bars."
According to a probable cause affidavit, the sheriff's office reached out to Stockton on Aug. 24 after locating a suspicious ad seeking an underage female online.
The undercover investigator sent an email to Stockton stating he had a 15-year-old girl available and from there, the two continued to send messages back and forth until the moments leading up to Stockton's arrest.
"The suspect made arrangements to meet at a predetermined location in Conway, Arkansas for the purpose of having intercourse with the underage female," the affidavit reads in part. "The suspect stated he would bring multiple sex toys and would arrive in a white Dodge pickup truck which would be marked with a pool cleaning company logo."
According to radio traffic, undercover investigators keeping surveillance of Stockton in the moments leading up to his arrest watched as he got out of his vehicle and stood next to the storage units by The Home Depot.
"FCSO personnel conducted surveillance in the area of the predetermined location and initially identified the suspect by the previously described vehicle information," the affidavit reads. "FCSO personnel were also able to visually identify the suspect at the scene based on photos that the suspect had previously sent in the online communications."
The affidavit states the lead investigator remained in contact with Stockton throughout the investigation, noting Stockton sent him a photo to confirm when he arrived to the predetermined location.
Investigators quickly blocked in Stockton’s vehicle and arrested him just after 1 p.m. Friday.
After detaining Stockton, investigators began to inventory the items in Stockton’s vehicle.
“At the time of his arrest, the suspect was found in possession of multiple sex toys, including a ball-gag, nipple clamps, and rope,” the affidavit reads.
Investigators also confiscated a cell phone as evidence and charged Stockton with theft by receiving for the stolen tags that were found on the truck he was driving. Stockton told police he had paid a friend $100 for the stolen temporary tags, noting he purchased the truck two months prior and had not yet tagged the vehicle in his name.
In an interview following his arrest, Stockton told authorities he had no intentions of engaging in sexual intercourse with the underage girl.
“The suspect confirmed knowing the underage female was 15 years old and the suspect confirmed making arrangements to meet the [undercover] profile and the underage [girl] for the purpose of sexual intercourse with the underage female,” the affidavit reads. “The suspect stated he would not have engaged in illegal contact with the female but that he was going to murder the [undercover] profile for his actions with the alleged 15 year old female.”