July 8, 2014
Johnathan Lee Messer, 24, of Kingsport, TN pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of using a computer to solicit a minor.
Friday an Albemarle County judge sentenced him to two years and three months in prison and added that he cannot use social media sites like Facebook or any online chat rooms. This is how he began talking to a 16-year-old girl in Albemarle County.
Back in October of last year he met her near a bus stop by her home. They left together and her family believed that she went missing. She was recovered by a family friend the next day.
The Commonwealth's Attorney, who was satisfied by today's outcome, says that people should pay attention to who they are talking to online.
“I would obviously hope that people who are inclined to engage in that behavior that they think twice and those they try to do everything possible to make sure that they are not dealing with a juvenile,” says Denise Lunsford. “The most important thing about this case was that it involved a juvenile, who as the judge indicated simply are not capable of making good decisions for themselves, that's why there are laws protecting them.”
While in court Messer's aunt and uncle spoke on his behalf, saying that he is a smart young man and that he got caught up in the wrong situation. His attorney thinks the same.
“I know that's sounds crazy, it always sounds crazy, you're talking about someone who was just sentenced to prison time,” says Andre Hakes, defense attorney. “But I've been doing this a long time and I have hope for him, I think he's going to be alright. I don't think he's a terrible human being. He's not a sociopath.”
Messer spoke in court today saying that he is sorry for the trauma the victim and her family went through. He says he's going to use the next two years in prison to better himself.