Bjorn-Eric Ludvigsen, Police Superintendent for the National Criminal Investigation Service in Norway, presented testimony Wednesday that about the age of two individuals pictured in images found on Ennis resident Jeffery Dean Gerron’s which Homeland Security identified in a nationwide inquiry.
Gerron is in the second day of the trial, facing 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Ludvigsen investigates child abuse cases and is responsible for running the Norwegian access-blocking initiative against the distribution of child sexual abuse material on the web.
Ludvigsen came to testify about the ages of and identify two of the individuals in photographs found on Gerron’s computer. The photographs previously appeared in investigations in Norway, he said. However, defense attorney Zach Redington objected to Ludvigsen’s testimony on the grounds that he had received second-hand knowledge from local police officers in Norway and had not interviewed the individuals personally. His information also came from police records.
Redington said Gerron had the right to confront his accusers under the 6th Amendment. Since both individuals were still living in Norway, they were unable to appear in court.
Lindy Tober, Ellis County and District Assistant Attorney, countered and said Ludvigsen’s testimony was like that of any other police officer in the U.S. investigating a sex crime. After much consideration, Judge Bob Carroll overruled Redington’s objection.
Ludvigsen then provided the court copies of passport records for both individuals from when the photos were taken in 2006 and from 2011. The records contained a photo of each person and their date of birth.
The photos that were possibly on Gerron’s computer were part of a series of 55 photos taken, Ludvigsen said. Of the 55 photos, 32 of them continued to be found regularly online. This is because minor edits and changing the file name can make the photos appear differently, Ludvigsen said.
Following Ludvigsen’s testimony, the prosecution rested its case.
After a recess for lunch and before the jury returned to the courtroom, Redington advised, on the record, to Gerron that it would not be in his best interest to testify in his own defense. Redington said to Gerron if he wanted to testify, he could against his advice. Gerron stated he did not want to.
Dr. Jamye Coffman, Wednesday’s first witness
Coffman testified based on her experience as a board-certified pediatrician and child abuse pediatrics physician. She works at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
Tober asked Coffman if there was any way to make a medical determination of age from looking at a photograph of one of the individuals. Coffman told the court there are certain physical attributes that determine whether puberty had occurred.
Tober then presented Coffman with the 10 photos listed in the indictment. Coffman said she couldn’t give an exact age, but during her examination of the photos, she testified she could tell five out of the 10 individuals were under the age of 18.
Redington followed Tober and asked Coffman if she did a medical exam on any one of the individuals shown in the photographs. Coffman said no she had not.
Redington then asked Coffman if she could make an exact medical determination of the age of the individuals. Coffman said she could not. Redington enquired if there were factors from the environment that might affect age. Coffman said conditions such as anorexia might affect certain factors in puberty, but not all. Also, a condition called Turner Syndrome affects puberty, where the X chromosomes are absent from the female body, Coffman said.
Jose Delgado, first and only witness called by the defense Wednesday
Delgado is a computer forensics investigator with Homeland Security. He performed the forensic investigation on Gerron’s computer. Delgado also testified on Tuesday.
Redington asked Delgado, if through his investigation he was able to determine when the images came onto Gerron’s computer.
Delgado said he could not determine that because there were several dates attached to each image file, with the first date being the date the file was created and the second, the date it was accessed.
Following Delgado’s testimony the defense rested its case.
More on the trial:
Homeland Security conducted a nationwide investigation called Operation Flicker in 2006. This investigation was into a company that sold access to several websites that provided downloads of images and other media considered to be child pornography.
Through the course of the investigation, Gerron’s name was found as one of the users of the website. An Ellis County Grand Jury indicted Gerron on Feb. 23, 2012 with having images of children younger than 18 years of age engaging in sexual conduct.
Closing arguments in the case are set to start at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in the 40th Judicial Court.