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Beaver v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

December 18, 2014

BEAVER
v.
THE STATE

Sexual exploitation of children. Barrow Superior Court. Before Judge Motes.

Kathleen J. Anderson, for appellant.

J. Bradley Smith, District Attorney, Samuel E. Skelton, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

MCMILLIAN, Judge. Phipps, C. J., and Ellington, P. J., concur.

OPINION

McMillian, Judge.

Following a jury trial in November 2012, Gregory Beaver was convicted of 15 counts of sexual exploitation of children and sentenced to 20 years, 15 to serve. Beaver timely filed

Page 504

a motion for new trial, which the trial court denied. On appeal, Beaver asserts that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and (2) the trial court erred in allowing the jury to view portions of pornographic videos recovered from his computer. Finding no error, we affirm.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict,[1] the evidence shows that Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Investigator Jeffrey Roe conducted investigations over the Internet as a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. As part of his investigations, Roe worked to identify computers that contained suspected child pornography. In particular, the task force members looked for " file sharing" programs, which allow computers on the same network to access content from other computers. LimeWire, which was later confirmed to have been installed on the computer used bye Beaver, was such a program. At trial, Roe explained how LimeWire works, including how users search for and download particular files. He also explained that each file has a " hash value," which is a numerical value unique to every file, much like a digital fingerprint. As a result of his investigation, Roe identified an IP[2] address that was utilizing the LimeWire program to access files that he suspected contained child pornography. The IP address belonged to Judy Vess, Beaver's mother. At that time, Beaver was living at his mother's home, along with his wife, Christina Deal, and her young daughter.

Roe then handed the information over to local investigator Katria Johnson, who executed a search warrant at Vess's home in May 2010. GBI forensic computer specialist Vickie Adams examined two computers found at that address. The one in Vess's office did not contain any evidence of child pornography. However, the computer found inside Beaver's bedroom was ultimately found to contain known child pornography[3] in five separate locations: a folder labeled [330 Ga.App. 497] " Chrissie music folder," a LimeWire saved folder, the recycle bin, a folder containing incomplete downloads, and the computer's unallocated space. Adams was able to determine that approximately 54 pictures and 23 videos had been downloaded between May 2009 and May 2010.[4] She testified as to the dates and times of the downloads, and short portions of some of the videos were briefly displayed to the jurors.

At trial, Deal testified that she and Beaver met in March 2009, and he moved in with her the following month. At the time, she was living with her parents and her infant daughter. She and Beaver married in June 2009 and continued living in a converted garage in the back of her parents' home. In 2008, Deal's brother and father had built her a computer so that she could go back to school. She explained that she downloaded LimeWire right after she received the computer so that she could download music. However, once Beaver moved in with her, whenever she wanted to download new music, she would ask Beaver to download it for her. Although her computer was password protected, Beaver knew the password.

Beaver was not employed and would stay at home and use the computer daily. Deal began working in September 2009 and would sometimes not return home until after her shift ended at midnight. She often saw Beaver using the computer when she woke up in the morning and again when she went to bed at night. In January 2010, they moved to

Page 505

Vess's house where she, Beaver, and her daughter shared a bedroom. She brought her computer with them, and ...


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