Hilliard Northwest News

Another pretrial hearing scheduled for former music booster


The criminal case against a former Hilliard music booster is approaching one year of proceedings.

William F. Blackhall, a Columbus resident who lives in the Hilliard school district, is scheduled for another pretrial hearing June 14 in Orange County Superior Court in California to answer charges for possession of child pornography.

Blackhall appeared in court last month for two preliminary hearings and also had a pretrial hearing in February. Other pretrial hearings were Dec. 7, Oct. 26 and Oct. 12 of last year.

He pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned Sept. 10.

As ThisWeekNEWS.com first reported Sept. 11, 2012, Newport Beach police arrested Blackhall, then 50, on July 25, 2012, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, for "possession (or) control of materials concerning a child under age 14."

Investigators discovered more than 1,000 pictures, images and videos of young boys engaged in sexual conduct with other young boys on a computer Blackhall brought with him on a business trip, according to a court official.

He was released on a $20,000 bond but was 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.

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

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District spokeswoman Amanda Morris said Blackhall's volunteer status was revoked Aug. 2, the same day district officials were informed of his arrest in California.