Florence business owner convicted of child porn

From Al.com By Ashley Remkus aremkus@al.com

A 67-year-old former business owner from Florence was found guilty today of 56 child pornography charges.

William "Pete" Wesson was on trial this week in Lauderdale County Circuit Court, charged with more than 150 child pornography crimes. A jury returned guilty verdicts on 55 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of possession with intent to distribute child pornography, prosecutors said.

"The jury made the right decision based on overwhelming evidence," Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said in a statement to AL.com.

The jury began deliberating Friday afternoon.

Wesson first came under investigation more than two years ago when a federal special agent was doing electronic surveillance and found the man's IP address associated with child pornography, according to court papers.

The federal agent contacted Florence police Investigator Drew Harless in April 2016 and described finding pornography that contained incest and young children, according to court papers. In May 2016, a judge issued a search warrant for Wesson's home on West Alabama Street. Police seized hard drives, cellphones and portable storage devices.

A forensic exam of the devices found 55 videos or photos that depicted child pornography, Harless wrote in court papers. Harless interviewed Wesson at the police department.


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