Cassville man gets 25 years in federal prison
Casas sentenced Tuesday in child pornography case, not eligible for parole
A Cassville man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to two felony charges involving child pornography.
On Feb. 5, Matthew Casas, 26, of Cassville, pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography, a class C felony, and possessing child pornography with an intent to distribute, a class C felony. As part of his plea agreement, the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri dismissed one of the three counts against him, a class B felony charge of sexual exploitation of children. He was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough.
For the distribution charge, Casas faced 5-20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, no less than five years to a lifetime of supervised release and a $100 mandatory special assessment per felony count of conviction, which must be paid in full at the time of sentencing.
For pleading guilty to possessing child pornography, Casas faced no more than 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, no less than five years to a lifetime of supervised release and a $100 mandatory special assessment per felony count of conviction, which must be paid in full at the time of sentencing.
According to court documents Casas and the Attorney's Office agreed to a range of punishment.
"In exchange for the government dismissing [the sexual exploitation of children charge] of the superseding indictment, and in recognition of the impact a trial could have upon his family members, [Casas] and the government have agreed to a sentence of not less than 15 years and not more than 25 years," the plea agreement said.
Casas was originally indicted on April 1, 2014, on the two charges to which he has now pleaded guilty. The superseding indictment on July 22, 2014, tacked on the class B felony charge of sexual exploitation of children, which has now been dropped as part of the plea deal.
The complaint against Casas was filed in March of 2014 by Brian Martin, former task force officer with the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.
According to a report released by Martin, Casas had rented a smart TV and allegedly left child pornography stored on the device's memory. Law enforcement officers reviewed the images on the set, which the report said were believed to be homemade and created by a Kodak Easy Share camera. The camera, two cell phones and a laptop computer were then seized by authorities.
Casas is also accused of loading a number of images onto Facebook and Flickr websites. The report said those were numerous images known to be commercially available and actively traded among child pornography collectors and viewers.
Task forces officers, aided by members of the Cassville Police Department and the Barry County Sheriff's Department, executed a search warrant at Casas' home on Feb. 28, 2014. According to Martin's report, Casas took a considerable amount of time to answer the door, as officers observed he was in the home. Casas opened the door as officers were preparing to force entry.
During an initial interview in a task force officer's vehicle, Casas denied ever looking at child pornography. He later allegedly admitted obtaining the pornography from a coworker at Justin Boots, and that he had posted images on the Facebook and Flickr accounts. He also allegedly admitted owning an SD memory card with pornographic content, about three weeks earlier, that contained thousands of images and hundreds of movies.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull, II. It was investigated by the FBI, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Barry County Sheriff's Office, the Joplin Police Department and the Monett Police Department.