BCSO Captain Tony Aaron indicated that on Wednesday, an anonymous source alerted them that registered sex offender Johnny Lee Wright was possibly in possession child pornography. Officers started an investigation of Wright and on Thursday morning went to his home and spoke with a relative while the suspect was at work, Aaron said.
The relative told investigators that he had been in possession of child pornography and that his computer contained images of adult pornography and consented for officers to search the home.
During the search of the home on Thursday, BCSO found flash drives and other media which were later seized, and investigators were informed that the suspect had been convicted of sexual abuse in Arkansas and served time for the conviction, said Aaron. Officers were not able to find any child pornography at the home because, as the relative admitted, it had been recently destroyed by the relative and Wright.
BSCO investigators then went to speak with Wright where he was doing carpentry work in the Shamrock Shores area of Lake Brownwood. According to Aaron, Wright surrendered his cellphone and an SD memory card from his wallet.
Over 200 images of women shopping at a local retail store were recovered on the SD card, Aaron said. He stated that there were multiple images of several women and girls, ages 13 to approximately 50. Of these images, investigators were able to identify 21 counts of crimes involving improper photography, which included pictures of the women's "posteriors," said Aaron.
Wright admitted that he had taken the pictures for self-gratification, which according to the law, is a crime when taken "without the photographed person's consent with intent to arouse the other person," according to Aaron.
Wright also at the time of the interview withdrew the consent to search his residence; therefore a warrant is being sought so that BCSO can perform forensic study on all flash drives previously seized at the home.
Aaron said that Wright also admitted at the time of the interview that he was warned that BCSO was on their way to speak with him about the pornography and that he had chewed up another SD card and destroyed it prior to their arrival.
According to Aaron, no evidence of stalking or any particular victim has been identified and investigators have not identified any child pornography or any child victims locally at this time.
According to Aaron, the images appear to all have been taken from a cellphone camera which had been modified so that he could take the photos from his belt. The images also appear to have been taken within the last month, as indicated by type of merchandise at the store which appeared in the images with the female subjects.
Wright was arrested Thursday for improper photo or visual recording and tamper/fabricate physical evidence.
When asked why the Sheriff's Office acted on a tip inside the city limits of Brownwood, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs stated, "We received information and we acted on it."
Aaron added, "We put a bad guy in jail that needed to be in jail and were able to get prosecutors evidence they will need to keep him in jail."