TUPELO – A Potts Camp man may be one of the first in the region to fight federal charges he tried to entice a minor for sex.
Bradley Allen Gilmore, 24, was due to go on trial last Monday, but Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers agreed the man’s claims of entrapment are “viable,” and he should have time to put his case together.
Gilmore’s attorney, Christopher Kitchens of Ripley, said his client is not a pedophile, has never been in any serious trouble and is not pre-disposed to commit such a crime.
Phillip Broadhead, a University of Mississippi Law School’s director of criminal appeals, said he’s been waiting for someone to put his legal foot down.
“This is no surprise – that finally someone has challenged the charge,” Broadhead said Tuesday. “Entrapment is a defense in any criminal case.”
In March a federal grand jury indicted Gilmore on one count that he used the Internet and cell phone to make sexual overtures to a 15-year-old minor.
This case and at least a dozen more this year have come from an organized sting operation run by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, employing a trained deputy who “pretends” online to be a teenage female.
If convicted on the charge, Gilmore or anyone else accused of the crime faces no less than 10 years and up to life in prison.
The government also wants Gilmore’s 1998 Mazda, which it claims he “used or intended to be used” to commit his alleged crime.
In his motion to continue the case, Kitchens told the court that if his client doesn’t meet the profile of a pedophile or sexual predator, then he’s been entrapped by the government.
He said Gilmore has no criminal history beyond a “no seat belt” ticket and possessed nothing suggesting child pornography or pedophilia when he, his vehicle and his home were searched. Instead, he said Gilmore will offer witnesses to testify that the alleged actions “are highly out of character” for him.
Gilmore is one of a dozen or more men accused of using a cellphone or the Internet to lure this “minor” into having sex. Federal court records show many previous defendants have worked out lighter sentences for their guilty pleas without ever going to court.
“Where law enforcement creates a situation for a criminal offense, it’s going to result in accusations,” Broadhead said.
Gilmore’s case began in Lee County Justice Court, then moved to federal court, where punishment is more severe.
Kitchens plans to have Gilmore examined by a Region IV Mental Health Services expert to determine whether he is pre-disposed to such behavior.
Biggers’ order for more time notes that Gilmore answered “an ad put on the Internet by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, fictionalizing a minor female seeking companionship from a male.”
He agrees Kitchens should have time to hire a psychologist to testify about the situation.
The trial will be reset within 60 days.