The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

March 7, 2013

Evidentiary hearing could affect child-exploitation case

ANDERSON, Ind. — Evidence gathered to charge an Anderson man with 25 counts of child exploitation could be thrown out next week.

Daniel E. Ward, 47, appeared for a motion to suppress evidence hearing on Thursday in Madison Circuit Court 4. Ward is accused of accessing websites containing child pornography from his home’s IP address on three occasions from late 2011 to early 2012.

FBI agents investigating Ward obtained a federal search warrant and raided the residence in the 2300 block of Chase Street where Ward lives with his father on Jan. 21.

According to a probable cause affidavit of the incident, officers found a 50-minute video showing child pornography on Ward’s computer. They also observed Ward’s IP address visiting websites with child pornography on Dec. 7, 2011, and Dec. 14, 2011.

Bryan Williams, Ward’s attorney, argued to Judge David Happe that the search conducted by Anderson police and FBI agents overstepped what was allowed by the warrant. Ward was living in an out building near the home that had been converted into a living space.

Williams and Deputy Prosecutor Stephanie Wade questioned FBI agent Kerri Reifel, who was a part of the investigation, and Ward. Williams attempted to establish that Ward’s living space was distinct from his father’s home and therefore shouldn’t have been included in the search warrant.

The out building is where the alleged websites were visited.

“They obtained a warrant to search the home on Chase Street, but not the space that had been converted into an apartment,” Williams said.

Happe gave Williams and prosecutors until Monday to file briefs on the matter, and he will likely make his decision on whether to throw out the evidence then.

Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said the warrant was issued federally, not by the state, so the matter is a little more complicated. He still expects the evidence to stick.

“It’s a call for the judge to make,” Cummings said. “If what I suspect will happen happens, we’ll go forward with prosecution. If it’s suppressed, it will likely go to a U.S. attorney in federal court.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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