The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 29, 2012

State, defense rests in child porn case against Enid man

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Both the state and defense rested their cases Thursday afternoon in the trial of an Enid man accused of a single count of possession of child pornography.

Michael Anthony Mason, 37, was charged last year with the felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

A six-man, six-woman jury and two female alternates heard testimony from four witnesses Thursday, with the majority of the day devoted to the testimony of case agent Detective Tim Doyle and a video interview he conducted with Mason last year.

Doyle told the court how an online investigation led to an IP address sharing known files of child pornography. Further investigation found the IP address belonged to Mason.

 He said he downloaded two files from Mason’s computer that were being shared on Jan. 31, 2011, which were both played for the jury.

Doyle said Mason was not initially forthcoming in the interview conducted Feb. 15, 2011, but then later admitted to intentionally downloading child pornography.

“He told me he had been under investigation for another crime so he downloaded child pornography to get the ‘death penalty’ and ‘hang himself,’ which is the words he used,” Doyle told the court.

He said Mason also described a video of child pornography he’d downloaded and also said he deleted things he downloaded about once a week and used a “disc wiper” program as well.

During the recorded interview played for the court, Mason said the other charge he was being investigated for was an allegation his ex-wife made about touching his daughter. He said he later got a letter from DHS saying the case was not being pursued.

In the interview, Mason is asked if child pornography hurts anyone. He replied, “It’s not me hurting anybody that’s not already been hurt.”

Doyle said he contacted Mason’s daughter following Mason’s arrest after the interview. It was then Doyle said she provided him with photographs of Mason’s computer showing images and files of child pornography.

The girl testified she had taken pictures of the screen with her phone, then sent them to a neighbor because her dad searched her phone.

Court-appointed attorney Tim Beebe asked Doyle if Mason was cooperative during the interview, after the initial deception, and Doyle agreed he was.

“Were you aware Mr. Mason spoke the term ‘death penalty” 15 times?’ he asked the detective. “Do you think he was depressed?”

Doyle said he believed Mason could “possibly” have been depressed and said he knew the phrase “death penalty” was used often but did  not know how many times.

Beebe asked if any child pornography files were found on Mason’s computers, hard drives and other storage files and Doyle said no files were found following the Feb. 15, 2011, search warrant served at Mason’s home. Doyle explained the files were found on Mason’s computer earlier in the year.

Beebe then asked about Mason’s connection to the Internet.

“He had a router at his house with wireless capabilities,” Doyle said.

“So, hypothetically, someone else with a computer could have downloaded things to that IP address?” Beebe asked.

“That is correct,” Doyle replied.

Assistant District Attorney Tallena Hart asked Doyle on redirect if he had ever heard of anyone getting the death penalty for possession of child pornography and the detective said he had not ever heard of such a thing.

She then asked if Mason confirmed he’d intentionally downloaded child pornography.

“Yes,” Doyle replied.

Melissa Seaback, a friend of Mason’s, said Mason was a caring man.

“Michael couldn’t hurt a soul and it would be tragic to take someone who has done so much for people away from society,” she said.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today with closing arguments.