The weeks-long trial of former TV-33 owner Peter Mallory came to an abrupt end Tuesday when the jury returned guilty verdicts on all 64 charges of sexual exploitation of children, tampering with evidence and invasion of privacy.
Mallory, 64, who showed no emotion in court, was taken to Troup County Jail to await his sentencing hearing, scheduled for Feb. 12.
“I think the jury did the right thing,” said prosecutor Kevin McMurry, after the verdict. “I’m pleased they saw the evidence for what it was.”
The verdict, coming after deliberations Monday morning and Tuesday morning, capped a trial that began Nov. 27 with jury selection. Potential jurors were questioned individually in private, which prolonged the process.
McMurry said Mallory’s prominence in the community didn’t necessarily affect how he prosecuted the case, other than to make sure the jury understood the evidence.
“When his character witnesses spoke, they hadn’t had the opportunity to see the evidence,” McMurry said.
Mallory’s attorney, Ed Garland, had no comment after the proceedings were over, other than to say he disagreed with the verdict. Mallory’s family was present for the verdict and one family member held her head in her hands as the pages of verdicts were read. Another family member was seen in tears outside the courthouse.
The verdict came in at about 11:30 after jurors began deliberating at 9 a.m.
After the jury was polled and left through a back door, Garland asked the judge to allow Mallory to remain out on bond until his sentencing.
Garland said Mallory had been out on a $25,000 bond for the 20 months since his April 2011 arrest and has been in “complete compliance” with court rules. Garland even offered for Mallory to wear an ankle monitoring device and check in weekly with the court.
“We need to work with him to prepare for his sentencing,” Garland said.
The attorney said Mallory has a number of significant medical conditions and wears two back braces. He also said Mallory would have physical and psychological testing before sentencing if he was allowed to remain out on bond.
McMurry said Mallory should be taken to jail, just as other defendants are in court when they are found guilty.
“At this point, the jury has spoken,” McMurry said. “He has had 20 months to prepare for this day. Mr. Mallory’s day has come.”
Superior Court Judge Dennis Blackmon said the tampering with evidence charge alone is one that the court takes seriously and said Mallory is not a candidate for bail. He was led from the courtroom to be taken to jail.
At his sentencing, Mallory faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the 60 counts of sexual exploitation of children. Invasion of privacy carries a five year maximum sentence and tampering with evidence could mean 12 years in prison.