On October 28, 2014, 9th District Court Judge Kelly Case sentenced James Mitchell Helfer (37 years old) of Magnolia, Texas, to five (5)
years Deferred Adjudication after he pled guilty to the 3rd degree felony offense of Possession of Child Pornography.
This sentence means that if Helfer completes the terms of his probation during the five year period, he will not have a
conviction for this charge on his criminal record. In addition to the deferred probation, Judge Case did not impose a fine of any kind and will allow Helfer to freely travel throughout the United States for work. Judge Case also allowed Helfer
unrestricted access to computers if needed for work. Helfer faced up to ten years in prison for this offense.
On June 6, 2013, an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Investigator received information that child
pornography was being downloaded at an address located in Magnolia, Texas. The Investigator monitored the IP
address and requested a search warrant from District Court Judge Lisa Michalk on August 7, 2013.
A search warrant
was executed on August 8, 2013 at this same residence, which belonged to Helfer. Through the examination of Helfer’s
computer that was obtained during the search warrant, the investigators discovered the child pornography was hidden
behind a virus cleaning icon. After a complete review of the computer, a Department of Homeland Security Forensic
Analyst discovered fifty (50) videos of child pornography. Many of the videos displayed pre-teen children (as young as
10 years of age) being sexually penetrated by adult males. Helfer also possessed videos of children being directed by an
adult male to give each other oral sex and to penetrate each other with sexual devices. Some of the videos lasted
around 30 minutes in duration.
During the investigation, Helfer confessed that he would often masturbate while watching these videos. In
addition, it was discovered that Helfer had installed image/video “wiping software” on his computer which gave the
defendant the ability to wipe any evidence off of the computer at any time.