ATLANTA -- On Thursday, two men in separate cases were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
United States District Court Judge Willis B. Hunt, Jr., and Chief United States District Judge Julie E. Carnes sentenced two previously convicted sex offenders within the same day.
Mark Twain Heaton, III, 40, distributed graphic images of child pornography over the Internet. The Roswell man pleaded guilty to those charges on March 29, according to Northern District of Georgia United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
"The distribution of images and videos portraying the sexual abuse of young children is a heinous crime," Yates said. "The offense is made that much more egregious by the fact that the Defendant has been convicted previously of a child molestation offense."
Heaton will be under supervised release for 15 years after completing his sentence, with no parole.
Information presented in court showed that Heaton was contacted by a FBI special agent during an undercover child pornography investigation in December 2011. While the investigation was being held, Heaton shared several child pornography images with the agent, who downloaded them onto his computer.
Other undercover FBI agents across the country continued getting similar material from Heaton between December 2011 and January 2012. The similar happened during contact between Heaton and the Liberty County, Georgia Sheriff's Office.
Soon thereafter, law enforcement searched Heaton's home and recovered his computer which contained additional child pornography images, including photos of very young children being sexually assaulted, the U.S. Attorney's Office reports.
In the second case, Johnny Lee Cole, 43, of Stone Mountain got 15 years and 8 months behind bars.
"The damage done to our community by the distribution of child pornography is incalculable," said Yates. "Children are victimized when the images and videos are produced, and are victimized repeatedly each time the images are distributed to others."
An undercover child pornography investigation started in November 2011 by an ICE/HSI special agent contacting Cole via a peer-to-peer network. On two separate occasions, Cole distributed numerous photos of child pornography.
During a search of Cole's home, law enforcement found the images on his computer, and recovered it, as it contained additional images.
Cole was previously convicted in 2003 in the Superior Court of DeKalb County of enticing a child for indecent purposes.