Man sentenced for child exploitation

February 11, 2009



A New Albany man Monday was sentenced to five years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections and was struck with a $50,000 fine after he pleaded guilty in Lowndes County Circuit Court to one count of exploitation of a child. 


Justin Towery, 24, of 1023 Allred Drive in New Albany, was sentenced by 16th Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens after Towery admitted he attempted to sexually exploit someone he believed was a 14-year-old girl. 


The charges came in May 2008, when a company named Perverted Justice contacted the Lowndes County Sheriff''s Department and set up a fake profile on the Internet. 


A Perverted Justice employee posed as a 14-year-old girl and chatted with Towery several times. Soon after the chats began, Towery set up a meeting with the "girl" and requested they engage in sex and oral sex, according to court documents. 


When Towery arrived at what he believed was the girl''s apartment, LCSD deputies arrested him on a charge of exploitation. 


Towery received the minimum prison sentence for the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years. The minimum fine allowed for the charge is $10,000. 


Towery also must serve five years of post-release supervision and register as a sex offender after his release from prison. 


Henry Spencer, of 106 Luxapalila Drive in Columbus, also was sentenced to prison this week after pleading guilty to sex charges. 


Spencer was sentenced by 16th Circuit Judge Lee Howard to two years in the MDOC and three years of post-release supervision after Spencer pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a sex offender. 


Spencer has been required to register as a sex offender since he was found guilty on rape charges in 1983. 




Three more qualify for Starkville aldermen seats 


STARKVILLE -- Three more candidates have qualified in recent weeks to run for seats on the Starkville Board of Aldermen. 


In Ward 4, where incumbent Democrat Richard Corey is running for re-election, two Republican candidates had joined the fray as of Monday afternoon. Nicholas Pappas qualified Jan. 30 and will face off in the Republican primary against fellow challenger John Mitchell Van Horn, who qualified Feb. 2. 


In Ward 5, where Alderman Matt Cox has opted to leave his seat open and run for mayor; Jeremiah Dumas qualified Feb. 3 as a Democrat. He will face fellow Ward 5 candidate Scott Maynard in the Democratic primary. Maynard qualified in January. 


The deadline to qualify is March 6 at 5 p.m. Primary elections are scheduled for May 5 and the general election is June 2. 


Here is a list of candidates who qualified as of Monday afternoon: