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Halifax County man indicted on 227 porn counts

A 40-year-old Halifax resident, Thomas Dale Anderson, was indicted Monday by a Halifax County Circuit Court Grand Jury for a total of 227 counts relating to possession, reproduction and possession with intent to distribute child pornography.

Anderson had been charged in October by Virginia State Police High Tech Crimes special agents on one count of distribution of child pornography, and he was later taken into custody without incident.

Anderson was taken to the Halifax County Adult Detention Center following his arrest, where he remains held without bail.

• A 24-year-old Nathalie man, Lewis Daniel Whitlock III, pleaded guilty Monday to 35 counts for a subsequent offense of possession of child pornography, after entering into a plea agreement with the commonwealth.

The agreement called for Whitlock to enter Alford pleas to a single count of possession with intent to distribute child porn and to a single count of a subsequent offense for possession with intent to distribute child porn.

Under terms of an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but realizes prosecution evidence would make a guilty finding at trial almost a certainty.

The plea agreement also calls for 19 counts of a subsequent offense of possession with intent to distribute child pornography and one count for possession of obscene material to be nol prossed.

Sentencing for Whitlock was continued to the March court term.

• A pair of Halifax County residents were indicted Monday for four counts of charges related to animal fighting.

According to court records, Daniel Tyler Clayton and Donna Dunn Wall were indicted for four counts each of engaging, attending, preparing or being employed in animal fighting.”

Todd Moser, Halifax County chief animal control warden, executed a search warrant Nov. 9 at a residence in the Cluster Springs community, directly across the road from Cluster Springs Elementary School, in reference to a possible cockfighting organization.

The animal control warden seized 54 chickens altogether, 19 of which were fighting cocks and the rest breeding hens.

Moser added he found cockfighting reading material, transport boxes and other numerous items related to cockfighting.

Moser said officials have had that location under surveillance for a period of time.

“We’ve been watching activity going on at the residence for about three months,” Moser said in November. “Plus we have had numerous calls from concerned citizens who have given us information, and we appreciate that.”

The chief animal control warden said the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Humane Society and South Boston Animal Control assisted his department.

Moser said telephone calls from several concerned citizens first alerted his department of a possible problem. “The concerns were about the nature in which the chickens were displayed out in front of the house in front of the Cluster Springs Elementary School,” he explained.

“The first callers were concerned that possible criminal activity was taking place across from the elementary school in sight of students,” he added.

Cluster Springs Elementary School Principal Lisa Long said she personally heard no complaints from either parents or students. “All I heard was roosters in the morning when I would arrive,” she said. “I’m just a country girl, so I thought nothing of it.”

Moser said representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the roosters were fighting cocks. “The next step was to evaluate the seized chickens and roosters,” he said.

The warden said cock fighting-related activities are new to Halifax County. “This is the first known case that I know of that’s ever taken place in Halifax County,” said Moser.

“It’s been in Pittsylvania County, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina. Our biggest thing is to put a stop to it before it actually gets a foothold here,” he added.