Crime

Smithfield man going to federal prison for child pornography

A Smithfield man was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to distributing child pornography.

James Owen Hagins, 44, will also be supervised for the rest of his life after his prison term is completed, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which announced the sentencing.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service questioned Hagins last July during an investigation of a Tennessee man who was accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing a girl. Hagins admitted to communicating with the man in an Internet chat room and also admitted to exchanging child pornography with others via the Internet, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A few days later, the FBI searched Hagins’ home and seized a computer and several cellphones and media storage devices. On those, investigators found more than 2,000 images and 487 videos of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hagins was indicted in September and pleaded guilty in late November. He was already a registered sex offender, following convictions in Johnston County for taking indecent liberties with a child in 1995 and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in 2004.

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