Memory cards left behind in Beaumont apartment lead to child porn arrest, conviction

Charles Hawkins    Photo/Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
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Computer memory cards left behind in a Beaumont apartment lead to the arrest and conviction of a Houston man for possession of child pornography.

Charles Hawkins-Griffin received the maximum sentence of 10 years and a $10,000 fine in 252nd District Court Friday.

Prosecutors say, a worker installing carpet in a vacant apartment on Delaware Street found three SD cards hidden in the top of a door frame.

The cards contained images of a girl, under 10 years of age, engaged in a sex act with a male adult.

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Digital evidence linked Hawkins-Griffin, who was a former tenant of the apartment, to the SD cards.

From the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office...

Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced today that Charles Henry Hawkins, 57, was found guilty by a jury for the offense of Possession of Child Pornography, a third degree felony.

The jury assessed Hawkins’ punishment at ten (10) years confinement in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a $10,000.00 fine, and Hawkins was formally sentenced by Judge Raquel West.

On June 5, 2013, employees with Porter’s Flooring America were installing new carpet at Hyde Park West Apartments in Beaumont when they discovered 3 hidden SD camera cards in the closet of one of the bedrooms.

The employees later looked at the cards and discovered what they believed to be child pornography.

They immediately notified the Beaumont Police Department. After a forensic examination of the cards by law enforcement, it was determined that one of the cards did in fact contain child pornography and child erotica.

There were a total of 97 images of child pornography and 222 images of child erotica.

Law enforcement also discovered multiple images of an adult male that was later identified as Hawkins. Upon review of lease documents from the apartment, it was also discovered that Hawkins previously lived in the apartment where the cards were found.

Digital forensics showed that the last time the cards had been accessed was while Hawkins was living in the apartment.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kim Pipkin.

Pipkin said, “I first want to thank the jury for their verdict. Nobody wants to show up for jury duty and have to look at child pornography, but they took their duty very seriously and saw that justice was done. I also want to thank Detective Jeff Curl from the Beaumont Police Department for the work he did to make sure we got a conviction in this case.”

The range of punishment was 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Hawkins had prior international convictions for rape, attempted buggery, aggravated burglary, and robbery from 1989.

Because the convictions were from outside the United States, they could not be used to enhance his punishment.

Hawkins must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.