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Former VCU cop pleads guilty in child porn case

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR) –   James Edward Deford Jr. was a man once entrusted to protect young men and women, just out on their own for the first time.

But Tuesday the former Virginia Commonwealth University police officer pleaded guilty to charges of child pornography.

The 35-year-old entered his guilty plea to five felony charges, including possession of child porn with four additional counts.

Deford was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, but the majority of the time was suspended except for two years and 10 months — which he must serve.

During Tuesday’s proceeding, Commonwealth’s Attorney Tommy Johnstone told the court 45 images and 40 videos were found downloaded on Deford’s computers and cell phone following an undercover investigation in October 2011.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney said the images and videos were that of  children engaged in sexual conduct.

Deford’s defense attorney, Keith Hurley, presented to Judge T.J. Hauler letters written by Deford’s friends, family and former co-workers in support of the one time VCU cop.

The judge took approximately 15 minutes to carefully read through the letters, all the while Deford remained focused on the judge.

Before handing down a sentence, Judge Hauler allowed Deford to make any final remarks to the court.

In an emotional statement, Deford said in part:

“I’ve lived my life by the job. I admit I made a mistake and I’m prepared to take responsibility for my mistake. I’ve learned from this experience who I am and who I will be on the other end of this, I just will no longer carry a badge,” said Deford.

During the proceeding nearly 15 people were present inside Chesterfield Courtroom 4, in support of Deford.

Defense Attorney Hurley also told the court Deford’s wife has remained supportive.  Hurley also told the judge, Deford never tried contacting any of the children seen in the images and videos, however Commonwealth’s Attorney Johnstone addressed the judge saying Deford’s action were still inappropriate, because he “became sexually aroused” from the child porn.

In addition to serving time behind bars Deford was also ordered to pay $100 per offense, totaling $500 in restitution, and he will serve three years of probation.

Once released from prison Deford will have to register as a sex offender.

Mike Porter with VCU said Deford was released from the university’s police force shortly after his arrest last year.

The convicted felon remains free for now, but he has been ordered to surrender to the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department on Friday, April 13, 2012 by 4 p.m.

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