By April M. Havens
PASCAGOULA - Former Ocean Springs lieutenant Steven Ray Futral pleaded guilty to five counts of child exploitation, or possession of child pornography, in court this morning.
"I downloaded videos on the internet that had underage girls in it," Futral told Circuit Judge Dale Harkey during his plea.
According to his indictment, Futral downloaded 4 videos that appear to feature a child the file names call "[title withheld]."
One 24-minute video's file name points to an "early work" by a 9-year-old [name withheld], and another title points to a "string bikini" video featuring an 11-year-old [name withheld].
Two others do not allude to an age and are, in part, simply named "[title withheld]."
A fifth video's title points to a 14-year-old [name withheld] performing sex acts.
Futral's sentencing has been deferred until Nov. 9 at the request of his attorney, Calvin Taylor.
"The plea came about today, last second," Taylor said, noting Futral's church family in Ocean Springs would like the opportunity to testify on his behalf.
The state is recommending a total of 25 years in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections -- 5 years to serve, day for day, for each charge. The judge may choose to sentence him up to 40 years in prison on each charge.
Arrested in June 2010, Futral originally faced six charges, but the state dismissed the sixth charge.
Futral, 46, has been free on $100,000 bail since June 2011. He is currently living in Starkville and working at a kennel, he told the judge. He does not have any minor children.
Futral was initially arrested by Jackson County Sheriff's investigators at his Pabst Road home on June 7, 2010, and charged on one count of possession of child pornography.
His police laptop and home computer were seized and sent to a county forensic expert for examination.
Futral said Friday that he downloaded the videos on his personal computer.
Futral was released from the Jackson County Adult Detention Center on June 8, 2010, on $50,000 bail.
He was arrested for a second time on June 11, 2010, after authorities said more child porn was discovered.
Following the second arrest, the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen held a special meeting and voted unanimously to terminate Futral's employment.
Sheriff Mike Byrd said he's glad the case is over, and he looks forward to seeing all of the county's other child pornography cases completed.
"These cases are very tedious, and they take a lot of time," he said. "The detectives and prosecutors who worked this did a great job."
It's especially disheartening to see a law enforcement officer commit such a crime, the sheriff said.
"Everybody in law enforcement is held to a higher standard," Byrd said. "You have to do what is right."