El Dorado Springs man convicted in child pornography case

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An El Dorado Springs, Mo., man who was caught with thousands of images and videos of child pornography was convicted at trial.

John Fitzgerald Mullings, 51, was found guilty of two counts of receiving and distributing child pornography.

Law enforcement received multiple reports from MeWe, Dropbox, and Snapchat of Mullings uploading images and videos of child pornography to their servers. Investigators contacted Mullings at his residence on March 2, 2021. Officers seized Mullings’s cell phone, which contained 678 images and 96 videos of child pornography, including rape and/or bondage of minors.

Mullings was indicted on one count of receiving and distributing child pornography from Feb. 2, 2020, to March 2, 2021, based on these images and videos.

On Aug. 3, 2022, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Mullings’s residence (which also served as the office for his business, Steward Wrecker) concerning an unrelated state criminal investigation. Officers seized 14 cell phones, multiple computers, laptop computers, and computer tablets, as well as electronic storage devices. Investigators conducted a forensic examination of those devices and determined that 11 of those electronic devices contained child pornography. On just one of Mullings’s tablets, investigators found 5,197 images and 211 videos. The files included visual depictions of sexual conduct with animals, binding and/or forced sexual contact with persons, and physical assault and deceased persons. In total, investigators found 14,249 images and 2,054 videos of child pornography on Mulling’s devices. 

Mullings was charged in a superseding indictment with an additional count of receiving and distributing child pornography from March 3, 2021, to Aug. 3, 2022, based on these images and videos.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo., deliberated for 27 minutes before returning guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool, ending a trial that began Monday, May 6.

Under federal statutes, Mullings is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie L. Wan and James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Barry County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Cassville, Mo., Police Department, the El Dorado Springs, Mo., Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.

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