Picayune man pleads guilty to sexually abusing, filming young girl

David Owens
David Owens Mississippi Attorney General’s Office

A Picayune man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography after he pleaded guilty in Pearl River County Circuit Court on Friday.

David Owens, 40, pleaded guilty to one count each of possession, transmission and production of child pornography before Judge Prentiss G. Harrell, according to a press release from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Owens was arrested April 6 at his home by investigators with the attorney general’s Cyber Crime Unit, Pearl River County sheriff’s deputies and the Picayune Police Department.

The investigation began with a tip received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Cyber Tipline. The investigation revealed Owens had uploaded four images to the internet, depicting girls under 10 performing graphic sexual acts. Also, the press release said, Owens sexually assaulted a girl under 10 for a period of several months and documented the sexual abuse through images he saved to his personal computer.

Harrell sentenced Owens to serve 40 years in prison with 10 years suspended, leaving 30 years to serve, followed by 10 years of post-release supervision. Owens must serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole. Harrell also ordered him to pay a $2,500 fine and $2,500 in attorney’s fees. Owens must register as a sex offender.

“I hate to be so explicit but I want people to understand what kind of predators are out there,” Attorney General Jim Hood said. “I appreciate the strong sentence handed down by Judge Harrell, putting this defendant behind bars and ensuring he pays the consequences for the disgusting criminal acts he committed against an innocent child.

“I am also proud of my office and the collaborative efforts we have with other state and federal agencies, as we all have the same goal of putting these sick-minded predators behind bars, away from our children.”

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Brandon Ogburn of the Cyber Crime Unit.