AG: 4 sentenced for child exploitation, domestic violence charges; 2 suspects from Pine Belt
JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced the sentencing of four suspects who were investigated and tried by the Attorney General’s Office for child exploitation and assault on Wednesday.
According to the AG’s Office, three of those suspects were sentenced by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich.
On March 8, Edward Anthony Rahaim of Hattiesburg was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 12 of those years to serve and the other eight years suspended, for one count of aggravated assault domestic violence.
Rahaim was also sentenced to six months for simple assault domestic violence, to be served at the same time as the aggravated assault sentencing, according to the AG’s Office.
On March 10, David Hammond of Petal was sentenced to 20 years in MDOC custody, with six years to serve and five years on probation by MDOC for one count of child exploitation. He will be required to register as a sex offender when he is released.
The AG’s Office said Hammond’s case originated when investigators with Fitch’s Internet Crimes Against Children task force got a tip through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
On the same day, Justin Lance Ducre of Carriere was sentenced to 20 years in MDOC custody with eight years to serve day-for-day, followed by five years of probation by MDOC for one count of child exploitation. He will be required to register as a sex offender when he is released.
Ducre’s arrest, according to the AG’s Office, was the result of Fitch’s “Operation Sweet Tooth,” a multi-jurisdiction operation led by Fitch’s ICAC task force, which also had help from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS).
“I am proud of how diligently my team investigates and prosecutes these difficult cases, but I am prouder still of the brave concerned citizens who took the initiative to protect others by placing these tips,” said Fitch.
The fourth suspect that was investigated, Michael Jerome Murphy of Courtland, was sentenced by Panola County Circuit Court Judge Smith Murphey on March 9. Murphy was sentenced to 40 years in MDOC custody, with eight years to serve and five years of probation by MDOC, and 27 years of unsupervised probation, for one count of possession of child exploitation material.
Murphy will be required to serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole, according to the Attorney General’s Office, as well as register as a sex offender when he is released.
The AG’s Office said Murphy’s case started when Fitch’s ICAC task force investigators got a tip through the NCMEC.
“Justice here started with the community stepping up and rallying together to stop dangerous predators,” Fitch said. “If you suspect abuse, please tell someone. Your tip could change and save lives.”
If anyone has information about a child being sexually exploited online, report it to 1-800-843-5678. The hotline is managed 24 hours, seven days a week by NCMEC and tips are reported to the AG’s Office for investigation. Reports can also be made online here.
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