Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo puppeteer plans to plead guilty to possessing, receiving child porn

The disturbing case of a professional puppeteer who wrote about his desire to kill, cook and eat a child apparently will end with a guilty plea and prison time.

Ronald William Brown of Largo has signed an agreement to plead guilty in federal court to possessing and receiving child pornography.

Those are serious charges with serious prison time, but not as many years as if Brown had been formally charged with conspiring to kidnap a child.

It's likely federal court guidelines will call for Brown, 57, to serve between about 61/2 and 10 years, said his attorney, Eric Kuske Leanza. But Leanza stressed that many factors go into calculating sentences in the federal system, and the official calculations have not been done.

"He's made a decision that that would be in his best interest," Leanza said, referring to Brown's plans to plead guilty.

Facing the even more serious charge of conspiring to kidnap a child was a real possibility, especially considering Brown's nightmarish online writings to a friend. For example, he wrote about wanting to cook a child's body parts for dinner. He even wrote that he had picked a boy out, a fellow member of Largo's Gulf Coast Church. "I imagine him wiggling and then going still," Brown wrote.

The case drew international publicity based on the disturbing writings.

But a grand jury indicted Brown only for the charges of possessing and receiving child pornography.

Recent court papers say that Brown had numerous pictures of child pornography on his laptop and engaged in plenty of discussions about them.

One person wrote to Brown saying "have pics of nude boys and any babies too" and "some boys are tie-up." Brown responded: "Oh, I would enjoy seeing the boys who are tied up."

There had been no evidence presented that Brown actually did directly harm a child. Besides that, legal experts said, merely writing down extremely distasteful thoughts is not a crime. Acting on those thoughts, or conspiring to do so, is a different story.

Although Brown has signed a plea agreement, it will not be official until he appears before a federal judge, Leanza said.

After that, probation officials will prepare a more precise calculation of what sentence Brown should face under federal guidelines.

Several weeks later, he would appear before a judge to learn his sentence.

Under the plea agreement, Brown also agreed to give up his Dell laptop, a Sony camera, a thumb drive, a cellphone, 63 CDs or DVDs, and 30 books. He also would have to register as a sex offender.

Largo puppeteer plans to plead guilty to possessing, receiving child porn 10/29/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 29, 2012 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.