Hilliard Northwest News

March 15 preliminary hearing set for former music booster


Former Hilliard music booster William F. Blackhall, 50, appeared Feb. 1 for a pretrial hearing in Orange County Superior Court to answer charges for his arrest July 25, 2012, for possession and control of child pornography.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled March 15.

The Feb. 1 pretrial hearing followed continuations of pretrial hearings Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Dec. 7.

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 District spokeswoman Amanda Morris said Blackhall's volunteer status was revoked Aug. 2, the same day district officials were informed of his arrest in California.

Blackhall, a resident of the Columbus portion of 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, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

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."

On Blackhall's computer, "Law enforcement ... 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.

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