Supreme Court ruling leads to reduced sentence for perpetrator

A defendant serving a sentence for pedophilia and sexual exploitation of children has had his sentence reduced by half due to a Supreme Court decision on a similar case.

Michael Thomas Day was back in Jones County Superior Court on July 14. Day was seeking a new trial, and Assistant District Attorney Cara Fiore said all issues have been resolved except for the multiple child pornography images.

Day was sentenced on May 30, 2019 to 40 years with 38 years to serve on two charges of child sexual exploitation following a two-day trial.

Fiore said the Supreme Court’s decision required the sentences for the two charges to be merged. In July 14 proceedings before Superior Court Judge Terry Massey, Day was sentenced to 19 years with one year probation.

The prosecutor said, however, that district attorneys opposed the decision and successfully lobbied for new status in Georgia. She said child abuse and pornography offenses committed after July 1 can now be sentenced separately.

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections website, Day was sentenced to 20 years for child molestation in Baldwin County on June 5, 2012, and released on parole on September 16, 2016. Day lived in Jones County and was scheduled to register in as sex. offender.

He was arrested on October 10, 2017 for child exploitation after child pornography was discovered on his personal computer during a routine home inspection. This arrest was the reason for the 2019 trial.

Witnesses at the trial included the probation officer supervising Day after his release from prison and former Jones County investigator Clay Wiggins for the state.

Probation officer Jesse Gibbs gave evidence of his October 10, 2017 visit to Day’s residence on Folendore Road. He said the presence of several anatomically correct child-sized dolls caused his concern.

Gibbs said he called the Jones County Sheriff’s Department and asked Wiggins to come to the residence to check the intern’s computer.

During his testimony, Wiggins said that because the computer was running slowly at the residence, he took it to the sheriff’s department. The witness said he downloaded the images to Day’s hard drive and found 117,000 of them. He said that included 28,000 images of child pornography.

The jury saw 105 of the images as a representation of what was found on the computer. All photos were of little girls.

Wiggins said the images showed the dates the files were downloaded and saved to file folders on Day’s computer. The investigator’s testimony was a painstaking process to show that each image was downloaded from a child pornography website and saved on the sex offender’s computer.

The jury also showed photos of Day and his girlfriend that were found on the computer to establish his ownership and ability to use the device.

About Jessica J. Bass

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