Three witnesses testified there was no way a former Conway officer accused in a child pornography case accidentally saved four videos that sexually exploited children onto his personal laptop due to the manner in which the files were saved.
Prosecutors with the 20th Judicial District called three witnesses to the stand — two Conway Police Department detectives and the computer technician who reported the explicit videos to authorities — Monday afternoon after a jury of six men and six women were selected to serve in the O'Dell trial.
Dustin O'Dell is a Greenbrier resident who resigned from his position with the Conway Police Department after a child pornography case launched against him in September 2015.
During opening statements, Joseph Blake Hendrix took a brief moment to introduce his client, noting the 35-year-old defendant grew up in Greenbrier and graduated from Greenbrier High School in 2001 before joining the Army and becoming a part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
O'Dell and his fiancee of 11 years have a 6-year-old daughter together, Hendrix said, noting that the 35-year-old ex-cop would never knowingly download child pornography.
"This is not a case about forgetting, this is a case about not knowing," he said.
Both parties warned jurors prior to testimony that the case would hold a strong, emotional impact.
"This is not going to be a good experience," Deputy Prosecutor John Hout said during the voire dire -- jury selection -- process, adding the children exposed in the videos in question also deserved justice and that finding O'Dell guilty could help do so.
"The children that are on these videos deserve a voice," he said.
In her opening remarks, Deputy Prosecutor Cortney Kennedy told jurors O'Dell had already admitted knowing there was child porn saved onto his personal laptop by admitting to having porn pertaining to an Asian fetish of his directly saved onto his computer in a folder titled "Asian."
The files, she said, were "intentionally moved and categorized into folders with specific names" such as the "Young" folder that was located next to the "Asian" folder under the downloads sections of O'Dell's laptop, adding such folder titles made it "so the user could find [the included contents] easily."
David Pevehouse, who was the information technology manager at Luyet Computer Co. at the time O'Dell reportedly brought a laptop containing four child porn videos in to be repaired, was the first to testify Tuesday afternoon.
Pevehouse recalled O'Dell wearing his CPD uniform and driving up in his patrol car when he dropped his laptop off for repairs on Sept. 5, 2015. This, he said, was not out of the ordinary because law enforcement officers often received discounts ranging from 20-50 percent at the computer repair shop.
After learning the hard drive was still intact, Pevehouse said he explained to O'Dell he could remove the contents currently stored on the laptop to an external hard drive and fix the operating system, which showed to be the issue.
As he began transferring the contents of O'Dell's laptop back onto the original hard drive, Pevehouse said he noticed there was a file that was taking longer to download back over to the laptop because the file size was significantly larger than the rest. Through his experience, he said he knew it had to either be a video or a large cluster of photos, and that his curiosity encouraged him to view the voluminous file.
"I got curious and wanted to see what it was," he said before stating he quickly saw that one of the subfolders in this particular file "indeed [included] sex acts of children."
Because the suspected child porn videos were in a subfolder labeled "Young," there was no way these files were stored accidentally, he testified.
While the former IT manager was on the stand, O'Dell's attorney pressed him about how he found the files and why he looked at each of the suspected child porn videos. After explaining it must have been an act of "morbid curiosity" and to confirm his findings before calling his boss, who was a sheriff's reserve deputy, Hendrix continued to ask Pevehouse about why he continued to look through the files.
"This is not my crime," Pevehouse said abruptly after also being questioned extensively about his criminal history to the point Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Clawson Jr. ordered Hendrix to stop excessively questioning the witness.
At one point during Tuesday's hearing, Hendrix hinted he believed there were three possible explanations for how the videos in question found their way onto O'Dell's laptop: a fault in a LimeWire transfer, a student a the university O'Dell once worked for in Kentucky or because of Pevehouse.
Hendrix questioned Pevehouse if it were possible that O'Dell, who often downloaded videos off LimeWire, which is an online peer-to-peer file-sharing program, unknowingly streamed the videos off the file-sharing program.
"No," Pevehouse said.
"A computer is a precise instrument. It does exactly what you tell it to," he said, again referring to the videos being specifically stored in a folder titled "Young."
Prosecutors showed clips of the four suspected child porn videos to prove the videos in question exploited juveniles.
An audio recording of an interview between O'Dell and Detective David Short was also played. Jurors could here O'Dell during this interview admitting to having a fetish for porn videos featuring Asian actors.
The significance of this statement, Hout said, showed that O'Dell knowingly downloaded pornography depicting Asian actors and placed them into a subfolder labeled "Asian."
Detective Brian Williams testified that each of the subfolders would have had to have been deliberately created and specifically named, adding that the contents of each of the subfolders within the "Downloads" file were also deliberately placed into their respective folders.
Although he was also questioned if it were possible the suspected child porn files were accidentally transferred during a separate LimeWire download, Williams also said this would not be the case. While the contents and searches of a video could potentially have nothing to do with a users desired search, the files in question being located within the "Young" folder showed they were deliberately placed in said folder, noting the child porn videos were "personally moved into this file."
Testimony in the O'Dell trial will resume Wednesday in Faulkner County Circuit Court.