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COURTROOM BLOG: Janitor who hid cameras in restrooms of Huntsville businesses sentenced to 140 years

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A judge has sentenced a man who worked as a janitor and hid cameras in restrooms of a handful of local businesses.

Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala sentenced Jeremy Nelson to 1,680 months in prison, or 140 years.  The judge said the bottom line is Nelson will be in prison for the rest of his life.

She said his offense is grievous, and Nelson engaged in it for an extended period of time, and she considered all arguments and written statements received.

Earlier this year, Nelson pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of possession of child pornography, and one count of child pornography distribution.  Read more about the case.

WHNT News 19 updated this blog below during the sentencing. Scroll through for updates.

Claire Aiello June 9, 20151:38 pm

Our team is in the courtroom getting set up for the sentencing. WHNT News 19’s Kristen Conner will bring us updates shortly.

Claire Aiello June 9, 20151:39 pm

Claire Aiello June 9, 20151:51 pm

Drew Galloway June 9, 20151:59 pm

We’re in the courtroom, waiting on the hearing to begin. It’s scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., but it appears they are running a few minutes late.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:03 pm

U.S. Marshals have brought Nelson into the courtroom.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:05 pm

Nelson is seated. He’s wearing a white prison jumpsuit.

Attorneys for the United States are also seated.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:07 pm

We’re waiting on Judge Haikala to come in and begin the hearing.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:09 pm

Approximately 10 members of the public are present for the hearing.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:16 pm

Judge Haikala is seated and the hearing has started.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:18 pm

The judge is asking about Nelson’s attorney’s objections to the pre-sentence report.

Nelson’s attorney says the sentence is on the extreme end of the spectrum and the court should sentence Nelson to less than 180 years.
Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:19 pm

The argument is against the stacking of the sentences for the individual charges. 

In the objection filed, Nelson’s attorney said the sentences should run concurrently.

The U.S. attorneys asked the judge to overrule the defense’s objection.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:20 pm

The court overrules Nelson’s attorney’s objection.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:21 pm

Donald Nelson, Jeremy Nelson’s father, is addressing the judge.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:23 pm

Donald Nelson is speaking on behalf of the Nelson family.

He says Jeremy Nelson’s actions have resulted in betrayal and the alteration of the lives of people, but he is still a part of their family.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:26 pm

Donald Nelson is speaking about Jeremy Nelson’s life and upbringing. He say Jeremy suffered from a broken home life and addictions.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:27 pm

Donald Nelson says Jeremy always looked out for people who needed it and always paid more child support than required by the law to support his children.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:34 pm

Donald Nelson is emotionally explaining that he hopes the victims will be able to receive help and counseling.
He says he hopes the court places Jeremy Nelson in a facility that will be able to offer him counseling and training for his addictions.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:35 pm

The worst possible scenario is for him to go to a facility and get no training or counseling, Donald Nelson said. He said he feared this would make him more secretive and a better predator.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:37 pm

Nelson’s attorney is speaking now, arguing against the 180 year sentence. He says he is not arguing against a prison sentence, but wants an “appropriate” sentence. He says that probation is one extreme and 180 years is the other, neither of which is reasonable.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:39 pm

If Nelson’s sentences were stacked, it would equal 2,160 months in prison.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:41 pm

The attorney says Nelson is also a victim of childhood abuse, which should be taken into consideration when handing down a sentence.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:45 pm

He says that since the state of Alabama is intent on prosecuting Nelson, that fact should also be taken into consideration. Any state sentence that is handed down will be served before the federal sentence can begin, according to the attorney.
He requests a sentence of 30 years.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:46 pm

The U.S. attorneys are calling two adults that are relatives to victims to speak.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:47 pm

Adult 1 is addressing the court. She will not be identified to protect the identity of the victim.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:49 pm

She says her child was turned into a commodity to feed the illnesses of others.
She says she wants the cycle of destructive addictions to end. She says it is one thing to harm oneself, but another thing to harm another.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:52 pm

Adult 2 is addressing the courtroom.

She says that there are no longer any unsupervised activities for the victims she is related to.

She says the victims she knows are still affected because of Nelson’s choices. 

She says Nelson made his choices and now must face the consequences. 

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:53 pm

Adult 2 is arguing against the 30 year sentence, saying she will spend the rest of her life arguing against Nelson being let out of prison.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:54 pm

The U.S. attorneys are addressing the court. He says that by Nelson’s own words, he has been downloading child pornography since the inception of the internet. He says that Nelson’s personal collection of child pornography is over 1 million images.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:55 pm

He says that Nelson also admitted to contacting other child pornography collectors and trading images with them. Those facts make the 180 year sentence reasonable, the U.S. attorney says.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20152:57 pm

The U.S. attorney says there were 130 other charges that could have been brought against Nelson, further making the 180 year sentence reasonable.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:01 pm

The U.S. attorney said that it was not once or twice that Nelson produced child pornography, but over the span of years. He said that Nelson took care to edit the videos to put music to them and put them up for trade.

130 families of victims had to be contacted in connection to this case, the attorney says

He says that agents stopped counting images of child pornography in Nelson’s collection when they reached 1 million images.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:02 pm

The U.S. attorney says the impact Nelson has had on families just here in Huntsville makes the 180 year sentence reasonable.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:04 pm

The U.S. attorney’s argument is Nelson doesn’t deserve a sentence less than what he has been charged with. Given the number of victims and the severity, the government asks for 180 years in prison.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:06 pm

Nelson’s attorney responded that the 1 million images count is using a frame-by-frame analysis of the videos in Nelson’s collection.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:06 pm

The judge has called for a 10 minute break before handing down the sentence.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:27 pm

We’re still waiting for the hearing to resume.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:34 pm

Nelson is seated and we are about to resume the hearing.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:35 pm

Judge Haikala says she has considered all arguments and the written statements received.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:37 pm

Judge Haikala says it is clear the offense is a grievous one and Nelson engaged in it for an extended period of time.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:38 pm

Judge Haikala says the bottom line is that Nelson will be sentenced to life in prison.

The court orders that Nelson serves 1680 months in prison.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:39 pm

No fine will be imposed, due to Nelson’s inability to pay.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:41 pm

Nelson’s is sentenced to 140 years in prison.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:41 pm

Court is adjourned and Nelson has been led from the courtroom.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:45 pm

Nelson’s attorney says he has the option to appeal the sentence to a higher court to look at the calculation of the years to make sure it is an appropriate sentence. He says Nelson has 14 days to file an appeal.

Drew Galloway June 9, 20153:45 pm

Tune in to WHNT News 19 tonight at 5 to see more coverage on this case.