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Threat of self-harm keeps child porn suspect in custody

Matthew Lane • May 21, 2018 at 12:21 PM

GREENEVILLE — A Johnson City man facing federal child pornography charges is being held without bond after a U.S. magistrate judge determined there’s a “very real threat of self-harm.”

Nathan Alexander Kirkland was charged in a two-count criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on May 8. The charges include knowingly receiving and possessing child pornography.

Federal agents raided his Wilson Avenue home earlier this month in connection to the investigation and seized numerous computers and a rifle. Kirkland is currently in custody pending a June 14 arraignment.

During a detention hearing last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifton Corker ruled he was simply not willing to risk the very real threat that Kirkland would harm himself.

A federal agent testified that Kirkland instructed her, “Don’t ask my family to bond me out.” In addition, Corker noted that Kirkland has a family history of suicide and that the suspect’s mother testified that she was concerned about her son’s mental health and the possibility of self-harm.

The charges against Kirkland come after investigators were able to download eight child pornography videos from his computer over a two month period using the peer-to-peer file sharing program eMule.

The investigation began in November 2017 with the Knoxville Police Department and eventually involved the Kingsport Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Kirkland faces up to 10 years in prison on the possession charge and five to 20 years on the receiving charge.

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