Jury trial starts in child porn case

WINCHESTER – The jury trial for a Stephens City man accused of possessing child pornography began in Frederick County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

David Anthony Donatoni, 36, was indicted in April 2015 on 16 counts of possessing child pornography, one count as a first offense and the others, subsequent offenses.

Around 15 people who came to the courtroom for jury duty Tuesday morning were excused in relation to the charges. Some notified the court that they worked closely with children and some said they wouldn’t make their judgments without bias – especially after learning that they’d later be looking at child porn images provided as evidence.

After selection, the jury heard opening statements from Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Enloe and Donatoni’s defense attorney John Flannery II.

Enloe told jurors that various agents affiliated with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program executed a search warrant at Donatoni’s Stephens City residence on Jan. 15, 2014, upon suspicion that he possessed child pornography. She said Donatoni had admitted during interviews at the time to looking at and downloading child porn, but said that “he covers his tracks” by later deleting the files and wiping them from his computer.

Crime lab analysis later located 16 incriminating images on Donatoni’s laptop, Enloe said, “because he didn’t wipe his trails the way that he thought he did.”

Flannery then presented his argument, prefacing weaknesses in the case by saying “this case is a fraud, a scandal, a shame and a disgrace.” He told jurors not to be intimidated by the number of agents they’d hear testimony from and to separate any emotional reactions they might have to the evidence presented.

The jury then heard witness testimony on Tuesday from four agents who were present to execute the search warrant, one also involved in processing evidence with the Department of Homeland Security. A recording of the interview conducted by agents with Donatoni at the time the search warrant was executed was submitted as evidence.

Donatoni’s trial will continue today in Frederick County Circuit Court.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com

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