Child porn found on resold tablet leads to arrest of New Castle man

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A woman who purchased a used Samsung tablet computer at an Ohio flea market just before Christmas made a chilling discovery when she turned on the device to take a picture of her daughter, according to New Castle police.

The man — he told her he was “Don” from New Castle — had removed the memory cards when he sold Kayla Petronelis the device for $225, a criminal complaint said. But within the tablet itself, some files remained.

And when Ms. Petronelis went to the tablet’s camera folder to look at the image she had just taken of her daughter, she also found several images of what she believed depicted child pornography involving the man she knew only as Don.

She turned the tablet over to the New Castle Police Department Dec. 30. A few days later, police tracked down the man who had sold her the device.

On Thursday, police arrested Donald A. Miller, 43, of New Castle. He faces charges of rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old and filming of sexual acts involving a child. According to the criminal complaint, the tablet contained seven videos showing various sex acts occurring between Mr. Miller and a young girl of about 7 or 8 years old.

At several points in the videos, a female child’s voice refers to the man as “Daddy,” a term Mr. Miller also uses to describe himself in the videos, the complaint said.

Investigators, using Facebook and other records, were able to identify people who appeared in pictures on the tablet, including Mr. Miller and an older woman, and come up with a possible address for Mr. Miller, according to the criminal complaint. The license plate of a car parked by the residence led to driver information for a woman whose picture matched an image on the tablet.

Police obtained a search warrant, and the woman told police that Donald Miller, a man she described as her partner, was not there. She said she had “thrown him out a few days after Christmas because she received a call that he was ‘french’ kissing" a girl in her custody.

She confirmed that the girl, who is not related to Mr. Miller, was the 8-year-old in the tablet images.

Police recovered numerous devices, including cell phones, laptops, and memory cards, from the New Castle home. Mr. Miller, who turned himself in to police, remains in custody in Lawrence County Jail unable to post his $150,000 bail.

There was no attorney listed for Mr. Miller in court records. A preliminary hearing before District Judge Melissa A. Amodie is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The girl is now in the custody of Lawrence County Children and Youth Services, the criminal complaint said.

The house where she was living was declared unfit for occupation, due to the lack of heat and sewage backing up in the basement.

Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.


First Published January 6, 2014 4:40 PM

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