Defendants plead not guilty

Home Archived News Defendants plead not guilty

Kersten White

Published: January 9, 2006

Last year, faculty and students alike were taken aback when two separate arrests were made on PJC’s Pensacola campus.

As previously reported in the Corsair, arrested were Brian Nephi McLellan, 19, PJC student and former Corsair staff member, and Peter Jacob Smith, 48, who was not a PJC student at the time of his arrest.  Allegations against McLellan and Smith charge each with numerous counts of the “possession of [a] photograph of [a] sexual performance by [a] child.”

In July 2005, Corsair adviser Christina Drain reported finding apparent child pornography in a staff computer recycling bin.  This led to the impounding of all Corsair computers.

On Aug. 15, McLellan was arrested and charged with eight counts of obscene material possession, not only violating the PJC Student Code of Conduct – punishable by “.expulsion, suspension, or any lesser penalty.” but also violating the law.

Currently, Florida statutes consider the possession of obscene material depicting those under-age to be a third-degree felony; each count punishable by up to five years in prison.  McLellan was released on a $10,000 bond and is currently awaiting trial.

Smith was allegedly seen on Aug. 16 viewing child pornography on an LRC computer.  This led to an immediate investigation conducted by Officer Wallace Carter, PJC Police Dept., and Michael Hual, coordinator of computer academia.

Subsequently, Smith, who was arrested that day, was charged with 130 counts of obscene material possession.

On Aug. 18, Smith’s bond was set at $250,000 with conditions upon his release; the wearing of a GPS monitoring system and no unsupervised contact with any minor under the age of 16.

On Nov. 18, Smith’s bond was amended to “$5,000 [C/P] with no unsupervised contact with minors” according to the Escambia County Clerk of Courts Web site.

A search of Escambia County Public Records shows that both McLellan and Smith are represented by the Escambia County Public Defenders office, have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and have each requested a trial by jury.

Trial dates for both men are scheduled for Feb. 27.

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