Tallapoosa man essentially receives life sentence for child pornography

Published 8:59 am Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Tallapoosa County man was sentenced to 65 years in prison two years to the date after ‘obscene and lewd’ images of children known by him and filmed were found on his computer.

Family members of the victims asked Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Ray Martin to sentence Justin Kyle Hutcherson so he could never hurt another child again.

“This family has waited for two years for today,” a father of two of the juveniles captured by Hutcherson’s camera said. “That time is nothing compared to the life sentence this family has been given. We will be punished for the rest of our lives. What happened to us is not something that just goes away. The betrayal is far too deep. There have been nightmares, crying, regret and anger. Every boy that will want to date my daughter will have an angry cloud over him that is not his fault. There is no punishment strong enough for these children who looked up to him, trusted him and thought the world of him.”

A father and husband of victims said Hutcherson doesn’t deserve another free moment in life.

“This man used and violated and completely destroyed their young fragile lives, scarring them for life.

He should rot in the darkest corners of the worst possible jail for the remainder of his life. There should be no chance for parole and more importantly no chance for another child to be harmed by him. If he ever sees the outside of a jail again, it will be way too soon.”

Other family members of victims made similar statements during Hutcherson’s sentencing hearing Thursday.

“We were shocked and devastated when we found out about his evil actions,” a father, grandfather and husband of Hutcherson’s victims said. “There was no awareness or red flags to concern us about his lewd behavior. It is only through this dramatic ordeal that we realized his attention to us was an evil plot to destroy a family. Kyle’s breach of trust and premeditated actions have caused our entire family nightmares. It is mortifying to know the videos of our innocent children and adults were viewed in court by jurors and court officials. Kyle’s actions and invasions of privacy have caused humiliation, embarrassment and emotional trauma which has caused recurring nightmares among family members.”

All of the victims’ impact statements were delivered by fathers of the children Hutcherson filmed on more than one occasion when they would visit Hutcherson’s home.

“I trusted him; I believed he cared for my family,” a father said. “He told me he loved my children and they were precious to him and that he would watch out for them. He didn’t say watch them. I cannot begin to express how the last two years have affected us. My daughters cry and ask why somebody would do this to me? My children worry if their friends in school would find out. We have been sequestered long before COVID.

“For my own sake one day I will have to forgive, but I haven’t found that yet. I still haven’t arrived at that day.”

He also delivered a statement from his daughter who was the oldest at 17 years old when Hutcherson filmed her more than two years ago.

“The day I found out I was angry and confused,” she said. “I was embarrassed and disgusted somebody I thought was my family would do something like that to me. He was supposed to be someone who protected us. I will always be looking over my shoulder wondering where he might be. I feel hopeless because I could not protect my sister and cousins. I know it was out of my control but I’m the oldest and feel it was part of my job to protect them.”

Hutcherson had several friends, co-workers and family members who testified he was an outstanding citizen and the charges were completely out of character for Hutcherson.

All characterized themselves as knowing Hutcherson for great lengths of time; and that they knew him as a great person and trustworthy.

“I will leave my kid with him without thinking twice about it,” one person with a 10-year-old child said. “I would say he is more than a friend — he was a brother.”

Another testified her children and young grandchildren loved Hutcherson and have asked about him since he was convicted and remanded to jail over Christmas.

A mother of children ages 6, 7 and 13 testified she had no issues with Hutcherson picking up her children from school or babysitting.

Hutcherson’s character witnesses were asked if they were aware he was convicted of having a ‘spy camera’ recording children in his bathroom. Many said they had heard. Some said Hutcherson had other reasons for placing the camera in the bathroom. Some said they would have hard conversations with Hutcherson if images of their children were discovered. Another witness said Hutcherson did not have a fair chance at telling his story during the trial.

Hutcherson was found guilty of 61 counts related to recording videos of family, including children as young as seven years old in a bathroom in his home getting in and out of a shower last month.
Hutcherson was found guilty last month of 12 counts of production of obscene matter involving persons under 17, a Class A felony with a sentencing range of 10 to 99 years in prison per count; 12 counts of possession with intent to disseminate obscene material of persons under 17, a Class B felony with a sentencing range of 2 to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 10 years when victims are under 12; 16 counts of aggravated criminal surveillance, a class A misdemeanor; and 21 counts of tampering with physical evidence, a class B misdemeanor. If Martin had ordered consecutive sentences for all 61 counts the time would have been nearly 1,400 years. With the age of the victims, Hutcherson will have to serve all 65 years and will be 99 when he is scheduled to be released from prison.

Hutcherson’s attorney Zach Alsobrook said the stacking of the charges was absurd and shouldn’t be the case.

Martin said legislators had passed the legislation for each individual video to receive a charge and for sentencing to be harsh.

“That’s the law,” Martin said. “These charges were submitted to a grand jury; this is what they returned. By law there are certain conditions that must be met on these types of offenses.”

Martin listened to victim impact statements and heard from character witnesses before delivering a sentence.

“A lot of things have been presented today,” Martin said. “Numerous witnesses for the defendant described a fine man who they trust with their children. There were victims who felt the same way at one point before a betrayal of trust from loved ones. Loved ones included adults; loved ones included 10-year-old girls.”