Thursday, June 13, 2019

Scott Wells remains behind bars, while fellow Missourian William M. Walker -- caught with 180,000 files of child porn -- never faced pre-trial detention

What kind of "justice" do federal prosecutors in the Western District of Missouri practice in alleged child-pornography cases. We would call it a radically unequal form of justice.

Consider Springfield, MO, resident Scott J. Wells, who has been detained for more than two years on charges of receiving and distributing child porn. The criminal complaint against Wells describes alleged unlawful acts that would be physically impossible to commit. (Details in an upcoming post.) The indictment against Wells contains zero specifics, or particulars, about his alleged wrongdoing, meaning the document is deficient as a matter of law. (Again, details upcoming.) The indictment should be dismissed ASAP, and in fact, never should have been issued. The government has a clunker of a case, but it has held Wells behind bars, as a "threat to society" since spring 2017, with a trial set for August. (Wells detention documents are embedded at the end of this post.)

Now, consider Branson, MO, resident William M. Walker. Court documents state that investigators found more than 174,000 image files and 6,500 video files of child pornography on his home computer. The Walker investigation began in June 2016, and he pleaded guilty to receipt and distribution of child porn in 2018. Now 76 years old, Walker currently is housed at a federal prison in Oklahoma City, where he is serving a sentence of five years imposed by U.S. District Judge Doug Harpool.

Heck Walker even was in the process of downloading child pornography when investigators first appeared at his house. (Memo to those considering a "career" in child porn: Be sure you aren't downloading the stuff when the feds knock on your door with a search warrant. Sort of hurts your chances of beating the rap.)

Throughout the court process that followed his arrest, Walker never was detained. In fact, James J. Kelleher -- the same lead prosecutor on the Wells case -- did not seek detention for Walker, even though his misconduct dwarfed that alleged against Wells, in size, scope, and every other measure one might consider.

Why did Kelleher not seek to put Walker behind bars, pending a trial, as he has done with Scott Wells? Well, you know the old expression, "It's who you know, not what you know that counts"? Walker, it turns out, knows some of the most powerful people in Southwest Missouri. Peter Herschend, co-founder and owner of Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. (parent company of the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson) spoke as a character witness at Walker's sentencing.

It's not clear if Walker knew Herschend from working at Silver Dollar City or its parent company. But it is clear that Walker benefited from connections Scott Wells did not enjoy. How outrageous was the conduct to which Walker pleaded guilty. Let's consider the Government's Sentencing Memorandum (embedded at the end of this post), under the heading "Factual Background":

Between June 28, 2016, and June 29, 2016, a law enforcement computer, using software designed to capture IP addresses of computer users attempting to download files containing depictions of child pornography via the Freenet, detected a remote user requesting a folder known as "Prelolitas-World_Anya A 9.rar." This folder is known by law enforcement to contain 123 images depicting a child under 12 years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The same user also requested to download another folder containing 141 images of a child under 6 years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

An investigative subpoena to Suddenlink Comunications identified the subscriber as William M. Walker, of 530 Oak Bluff Road, Branson, MO. A search warrant for Walker's residence was obtained and executed on August 10, 2016. The search yielded a stunning amount of evidence:

Upon arrival, the investigators located WALKER, the sole occupant of the home, and after advising him of his Miranda rights, questioned him with regard to his use of Freenet. WALKER acknowledged that he used Freenet to download images, but invoked his right to an attorney being directly confronted with the allegation that he was downloading child pornography.

What happened next? Well, it didn't help Walker's cause:

The investigators located WALKER'S computer in a second floor office. The computer was actively running the Freenet application. Detective Larry Roller opened the user interface and noted that the computer was in the process of downloading a batch of files known to law enforcement as containing depictions of child pornography. The computer, along with several USB drives, were seized by investigators. A forensic examination later yielded the discovery of approximately 174,121 images files and 6,572 video files containing depictions of child pornography

After letting this sink in for a moment, we have a few points:

(1) Walker actually was downloading child porn when investigators arrived at his house with a search warrant. Ouch! I'd say prosecutors had a pretty iron-clad case;

(2) Let that number of files sink in. As a total, Walker had more than 180,500 child-porn images on his computer;

(3) Lord, how did the darned thing run? How much memory did the guy have installed? How did the computer keep from collapsing under the weight of all that porn?

For our purposes, the No. 1 question at the moment is this: Why has Scott Wells been behind bars for more than two years -- even though the feds had no probable cause to arrest him or search his home; they charged him with an offense that is physically impossible to commit.

Meanwhile, William Walker, with his ties to the Silver Dollar City hierarchy, never faced pre-trial detention -- even though he was caught red-handed downloading child porn, in massive quantities.

In essence, the court decided Scott Wells is a "danger to society," while prosecutors never even tried to detain William Walker, pending trial. That's not remotely in line with the facts of the two cases.

How in the world did Scott Wells wind up behind bars for more than two years, currently in the Greene County Jail, even though he stands wrongly accused and has been found guilty of nothing? We will examine documents related to that question in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

Something is wrong with this Walker dude. Anybody who would collect 180,000 images of child porn is seriously disturbed.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Walker needs a new hobby. I'd suggest shuffleboard.

Anonymous said...

I would say Mr. Walker was obsessed, or maybe possessed. Scary.

Anonymous said...

A scientist needs to do a psychiatric study of this guy. We need to know what has gone haywire with his brain.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:48 --

Agreed. At the moment, I don't think there are any effective treatments for these kinds of disorders. Perhaps a study of William Walker could help figure it out.

Anonymous said...


I've always believed your reporting was factual, but the following sentence removes all doubt:

The investigators located WALKER'S computer in a second floor office. The computer was actively running the Freenet application. Detective Larry Roller opened the user interface and noted that the computer was in the process of downloading a batch of files known to law enforcement as containing depictions of child pornography.

You just can't make that stuff up.

Anonymous said...


Maybe bingo would help.

e.a..f. said...

given the sheer volume "candidate 2" had in his possession, it would not be unreasonable to conclude, this was more than a "private" collection. if we conclude it was a "commercial" collection, then there is money to be made and customers to keep happy.

Back in the day, when bank robbery was a "profession" going to jail was simply the "cost" of doing business. As I recall those who were caught "red handed" in days prior to the "ink" in the bundles, they simply pled guilty, served their time, and got back to business upon release. At some level, in some "criminal industries" not much changes. of course we don't really have professional bank robbers anymore, but we still have professional provides of child porn.

Candidate 1, is some one, if they were even guilty, would be of interest to no one. they didn't have a 'commercial value'. Hence others can afford to make an example of him, and treat him like a child porn peddler. True child porn peddlers have a use in society, because there is a market for their products. If child porn was just "viewed" by "low class bums" or "creeps" or "pedophiles" of low character and income, the child porn industry would have been driven very underground and most would be in jail. However, it is my life experience that those who view child porn come from all stratas of society, all levels of income, various occupations, etc.

Most of us at one time have heard the phrase, there is one law for the rich and one for the poor..........

Candidate 2, will most likely not serve the full term. Candidate 1 will most likely be in jail longer, prior to their trial, then Candidate 2 ever serves. Candidate 2 will be back in business, with better computer equipment, making money, while Candidate 1, will have their life ruined. Those "righteous" defenders of the law and children need to look like they're doing something, just not viewing, making or distributing porn.

e.a.f. said...

ah examining the brains, mental make up, etc. of child porn viewers, No one really wants to do that because they might have something to use to identify them and in some neighbourhoods that just isn't on.

Back in the 1980s or tbere abouts, there was a "big announcement" that a child porn ring had been "caught" in Europe. The article mentioned it covered several European countries, all sorts of incomes, government, political, corporate types. To the best of my recollection the arrests totalled more than 50. Then I kept checking to see when the trials started, when the names would be published. I'm still waiting. My conclusion, child porno flourishes because there are people, highly placed within this world who use it, want it, need it. Anything done to eradicate it would meet stiff opposition.

Its why places like Thailand are so popular as vacation spots. A few countries have laws which will "follow" an offender and bring them to trial if they engage in child porn or sex, when they "get home". Most countries don't. Now why is that? If Canada and the Netherlands have laws such as that, why not others?

Don't even get me started on child trafficking in the sex industry........

It took society a very long time to "create" the definition of a psychopath. The original study was done by Dr. Hare at the University of British Columbia with some PhD candidates. The study was done in the penitentiaries. Now its much easier to "diagnosis" psychopaths. It is the opinion of some that another place you will find a greater number of psychopaths is in government.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Reminds me of the Franklin Scandal, back in the Reagan-Bush I years, where elites allegedly brought boys from orphanages in the Midwest to D.C. and used them for God knows what purposes. Of course, that goes beyond child porn to child abuse, but it's one of the most disturbing stories in modern U.S. history and largely has been covered up.

e.a.f. said...

Yes, child sex trafficking. Very big business and there is not much money within the police/judicial system to combat it. A few very dedicated people work at combatting it
Children don't vote. Their abusers do

There are child prostitutes all over the world. There are adults who traffic children all over the world for the purposes of sexual exploitation. No one likes to talk about it much, especially those good religious types. Which brings me back to the Alabama anti choice/abortion, fetish freaks. they're out there "fighting" for the blobs inside some one's body but do nothing about all the children used for sex by adults.

It would be fun to write all those fetish freaks in the various legislatures around the U.S.A. and ask them what they've done to combat child sex trafficking. they'll probably start talking about anti abortion shit or about how parents sexually abuse their own children, but they won't talk about child sex trafficking. Now that would be a fun question in the upcoming American elections: what have you done to prevent or stop child sex trafficking. Bet you a really good bottle of scotch that reporter won't be permitted to ask questions after they have asked twice.