Matthew Willoughby Hale

Matthew Willoughby Hale

After a judge and jury formally handed down a sentence for 18 different counts, Matthew Willoughby Hale has filed a notice to appeal.

Hale was formally sentenced before a judge in court Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 after appearing before a jury in September where he was found guilty on 18 different counts between two different cases, 12 of which were for possession of child pornography and the remaining six of which were for child sexual abuse.

Hale, of Marlow, turned in notice of intent to appeal on Nov. 22, 2019, though an official certificate of appeal was filed with the Stephens County Courthouse on Dec. 5.

The child pornography case was discovered in 2017 through a probe conducted by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the child sexual abuse case was discovered in early 2019 when law enforcement looking through pornographic photos from the first investigation realized a child in the home had been harmed.

The September trial took almost three days for the review of evidence, including obscene videos and photos and testimony from the victim, but the jury only deliberated for just a little over 30 minutes before returning to open court, where they delivered 18 verdicts, each reading “guilty” and recommending the maximum sentence for each count.

For each count of child pornography possession, the jury fixed punishment at 20 years, which is the maximum allowed for the crime. For each count of child sexual abuse, the jury fixed punishment at life. In total, the jury returned a verdict of 510 years.

The judge followed the fixed recommendations and handed down 20 years for each count of child pornography possession, with all to run concurrently, and a life sentence for each count of child sexual abuse, with all to run consecutively, along with all costs in each case.

Time served for Hale counts from Jan. 15, 2019.

The Banner will update more on this story as it develops.

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