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Poca man found guilty of having child porn

WINFIELD -- A Poca man was found guilty Tuesday of possessing child pornography after his lawyer tried to put the blame on the man's 10-year-old son, saying the boy wanted to impress a teenage girl with the images.  

William Burt Shingleton, 45, of Poca, was found guilty in Putnam County Circuit Court of 20 counts of possessing material visually portraying a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He faces 40 years in prison and will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Sept. 12.

A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for about 30 minutes in the trial that began Monday. Shingleton, a father of four, stood shaking his head with his arms folded and eyes closed as Judge Phillip Stowers read "guilty" 20 times.

Shingleton's sons, ages 15, 12 and 10, were present in the courtroom Tuesday as the verdict was read. At that moment they looked to their mother, Angel Shingleton, who was weeping with her head down.

Police seized Shingleton's computer in April 2010 after Shingleton's brother-in-law gave police a thumb drive that his daughter had discovered that contained pornographic images.

Lori Gil of Poca testified during the trial. She has dated the brother of Shingleton's wife for four years and said some family members blame her and her boyfriend for the guilty verdict.

"[William Shingleton] has a 2-month-old baby girl. I have a daughter," Gil said tearfully after the trial. "We had to do something ... Nobody wins in this situation."

Gil said after the verdict that Shingleton and his attorney, James Atkins, of Buffalo, had initially tried to place blame on his 10-year-old son for downloading the images.

The 10-year-old was outside the state at the time the images were downloaded, assistant prosecutor Kristina Raynes said during closing arguments.

"One of those kids was going to take the rap for his dad until we figured out he wasn't in the state," Raynes told jurors.

Atkins said in his closing arguments there was no evidence linking Shingleton to the child pornography. He said Shingleton's 10-year-old son was "smitten" with a teenage girl and wanted to "impress" her with the images and "test the waters."

Atkins also said there was no reason jurors should have been shown the pornographic images by prosecutors.

"Why did you really have to see this stuff? These images were intended to enrage and embarrass," he said. "Not one of you needed those images to vote for either side."

Atkins said a computer expert that testified didn't check to see whether Shingleton's Internet router was secure or if anyone else had access to the computer on which the images were found.

Raynes told jurors that Shingleton would use Internet search terms like "cute girls" or "younger looking girls," not "cute women."

After the verdict, Raynes told the judge she planned to ask for an enhanced sentence based on Shingleton's criminal history. 

According to the Kanawha County Circuit Clerk's office, Shingleton was found guilty of forgery in 1993, and of obtaining by false pretenses in 2008. After he violated probation tied to the 2008 case, Shingleton was sentenced to one to 10 years and he has been incarcerated since last August, according to the circuit clerk's office.


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