Hilliard Northwest News

Former Hilliard music booster

Blackhall's California pretrial hearing to continue Dec. 7

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The pretrial hearing in California for a former Hilliard music booster vice president is scheduled to continue Dec. 7.

William F. Blackhall, 50, of Columbus, appeared Oct. 26 for his first pretrial hearing in Orange County Superior Court to answer charges for his July 25 arrest for possession and control of child pornography.

Blackhall had received a continuance Oct. 12 at a hearing where his attorney represented him.

The Dec. 7 hearing will serve the same purpose as the Oct. 26 hearing, a court official said.

"The purpose of the pretrial is for both sides to exchange information about the case," said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Additional pretrial dates could be set, as many as necessary or that the court grants, until a preliminary hearing is scheduled.

Marc McBride is a California attorney representing Blackhall. The case is before Superior Court Judge Karen Robinson.

Prior to his arrest, Blackhall was vice president of the Darby High School chapter of the Hilliard Music Boosters, which is a volunteer position for the Hilliard City Schools. Background checks are required for positions in which a volunteer is left alone with students, according to the school district's volunteer policy, which is linked to the music boosters' website.

District spokeswoman Amanda Morris said Blackhall's volunteer status was revoked Aug. 2, the same day district officials were informed of his arrest.

The music boosters club also severed its ties with Blackhall, according to Jeff Keller, president of the group. The boosters club is a separate organization from the district and has its own policies and rules, Morris said, although they often work together.

Blackhall was arrested in California on a business trip after a co-worker alerted Orange County authorities that Blackhall had child pornography on a computer he had brought with him, Emami said.

"Law enforcement arrested the defendant on July 25 and during an investigation, discovered more than 1,000 pictures, images and videos of young boys engaged in sexual conduct with other young boys," Emami said.

He was released on a $20,000 bond but not formally charged by the Orange County District Attorney's Office until the last week of August, Emami said. He was arraigned Sept. 10 in the Superior Court of California in Orange County, where he entered a plea of not guilty, she said.

The maximum penalty if Blackhall is convicted of the charges is three years in state prison.

 

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