Dathan Durant, 58, was sentenced on Monday morning for Possession of Child Pornography by 8th Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt. Durant pled guilty to the charge and went before the Judge for sentencing. The range of punishment was 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Judge Northcutt denied the Defendant’s request for probation and sentenced him to the maximum of 10 years in prison with no fine. He will be eligible for parole in two and a half years.
In June of 2014, Hopkins County Investigator Corley Weatherford received an online tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The tip revealed that a group of child pornography photos and videos named the “Vicky” series by federal law enforcement had been downloaded to the Defendant’s home computer. After obtaining a search warrant, Hopkins County investigators searched Durant’s home and seized two computers. Forensic experts were able to retrieve thousands of images of child erotica from the Defendant’s hardware, as well as illicit search terms he had entered while looking for images and internet history showing underage websites. The Defendant was using peer-to-peer online file sharing programs to download, access, and view images and videos of child pornography.
Investigator Weatherford, who recently attended the U.S. Secret Service computer forensics school, has been working with state and federal prosecutors on a number of child exploitation cases.
District Attorney Will Ramsay praised the work of those who prosecuted and investigated the case. ” “People of Hopkins County should feel proud to have a Sheriff’s Office committed to seeking justice for those who prey on children. Investigator Corley Weatherford is one of the best in Northeast Texas at pursuing these cases. Assistant District Attorney Clay Harrison meticulously prepares for trial and is an outstanding advocate in the courtroom. This ceaseless effort protects our community and ensures that Hopkins County remains a wonderful place to raise a family.”