PERKINSTON, Miss. (WHLT) – On Tuesday, 48-year-old Edward Lee Thomas was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden to serve the statutory maximum of 50 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for producing images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Assessments were also imposed on Thomas in the amount of $5,000 under the Justice for Victims of Tracking Act of 2015, and $20,000 under the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018.
Below are the details for sentencing from the Department of Justice:
In March 2020, HSI Gulfport received 95 images and 2 videos of child sexual abuse from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The investigation led agents to a residence in Forrest County, Mississippi, where sexual abuse images of two minors had been taken. Agents executed a federal search warrant at the residence of Edward Lee Thomas in Perkinston. The seizure and forensic examination of electronic devices taken from Thomas’ residence revealed over 4,000 images and 700 videos of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
A superseding indictment charging the production and possession of images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct was returned by a federal grand jury on June 10, 2020. Thomas pled guilty to the production count on October 22, 2020. He faced a penalty of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years in prison. However, Thomas’s 2004 Mississippi state conviction for sexual battery of a child was determined to be a qualifying prior conviction for an enhanced statutory penalty, and as such he faced a maximum penalty of not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years, and a $250,000 fine.Department of Justice