Petal man placed under house arrest

Photo courtesy of the Mobile Press Register
Photo courtesy of the Mobile Press Register

A Petal man facing sexual exploitation charges in Alabama has been placed under strict house arrest at his father's home in Hattiesburg while a federal grand jury looks at his case.

Mitchell Shane Hooks, 34, appeared Thursday before a federal judge in Mobile on charges he crossed the state line to meet with a 13-year-old girl he met online. The girl was actually a Saraland, Ala., police officer, who is part of the justice department's project safe neighborhood task force.

According to court documents, hooks used the name superfreak2096 to engage in sexually provocative conversations with who he thought was a 13-year-old, and arranged a meeting last weekend at a bookstore in Spanish Fort, Ala. Authorities say he was arrested as soon as he entered the bookstore.

In court this week, federal prosecutors asked Judge Sonja Bivins to keep Hooks in jail, saying the suspect was kicked out of the marines for being AWOL. His defense attorney said Hooks was 19 at the time and "since then has had no criminal activity at all."
However, WDAM has learned since 1996 Hooks has been arrested four times, including DUI, domestic violence, and felony child abuse. The child abuse arrest occured in 1996, but was dropped in 2003 after the state said it could not prove which parent was responsible for the abuse. Both parents had pointed the finger at the other. However, the case did result in the child being removed from the home and placed in foster care.

In addition to placing Hooks under house arrest, Bivins also ordered hooks to wear an electronic monitoring device that can be tracked by a GPS system.