Hilliard Northwest News

Former Hilliard music booster

Blackhall's pretrial hearing in California to continue Feb. 1


The California pretrial for a former Hilliard music booster is scheduled to continue Feb. 1 after another continuance was issued last week.

William F. Blackhall, 50, appeared Dec.7 for a pretrial hearing in Orange County Superior Court to answer charges for his July 25 arrest for possession and control of child pornography.

Blackhall had also received a continuance Oct. 12 at a hearing where his attorney represented him. Blackhall was present at the Oct. 26 and Dec. 7 hearings.

"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 the California attorney representing Blackhall. The case is before Superior Court Judge Karen Robinson.

Prior to his arrest, Blackhall had served as vice president of the Hilliard Music Boosters, representing Hilliard Darby High School. District spokeswoman Amanda Morris said Blackhall's volunteer status was revoked Aug. 2, the same day district officials were informed of his arrest.

Blackhall, a Columbus resident who lives in the Hilliard school district, was arraigned Sept. 10 in the Superior Court of California in Orange County where he entered a plea of not guilty.

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

Newport Beach police arrested Blackhall July 25, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, for "possession (or) control of materials concerning a child under age 14."

"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.

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