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Tue, Sept. 17

Trial begins in child pornography case

Knute Kolmann

Knute Kolmann

A jury heard opening arguments Thursday in a trial for a Prescott man facing 11 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of conspiracy for allegedly downloading and printing child pornography.

Knute Kolmann, 67, also faces a separate case on charges of forgery, identity theft, interfering with judicial proceedings and failure to appear in court, according to court records.

"They are rather horrific," Deputy County Attorney Glen Hammond, said of the images that will be presented as evidence against Kolmman during the three-week trial before Superior Court Judge Thomas B. Lindberg. "They're known kids, not video images."

DNA found on a photo in the bedroom of Kolmann's Cibola Circle house matched either him or a close relative, Hammond said.

Detectives also found a passport and Nevada driver's license with Kolmann's picture and someone else's name, Hammond said.

Hammond told the jury that Kolmann met a Mesa woman through the online advertising service Craigslist and exchanged e-mails with her. When police arrested that woman in September 2006, detectives found Kolmann's e-mail address on her computer, Hammond said.

In November 2006, detectives searched Kolmann's house and seized his computer. They also found a box in an armoire "full of photos and e-mails," Hammond said. The images showed children and some infants in poses "for sexual gratification," he said.

Defense lawyer David Shapiro agreed that the photographs were "a betrayal of human decency" and "a monstrosity." But he asked the jury to uphold the Constitution and make the state prove its case. Other people besides Kolmann had access to his computer and "Internet security is one of the major issues of our time," Shapiro said. "No one can protect himself from someone invading his computer...This Internet is a deadly bacteria."

Kolmann, who had a business restoring cars, moved to Prescott shortly before his arrest in 2006.

Retired Prescott Detective Ann Cahall testified that she read Kolmann his rights on Nov. 28, 2006, as officers searched his house. The jury heard a brief tape of an interview with Cahall in which Kolmann admitted exchanging e-mails with the woman he contacted through Craigslist. They exchanged fantasy stories, he told Cahall, but he decided to stop writing her.

"I posted different ads to meet ladies," he said. "She sent stories about daddies and girls." Kolmann admitted to "seeing a few sites on the Internet and it piqued my interest. I'd be looking at regular sites and something would pop up."

Kolmann remains in custody in lieu of $700,000 bond.

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