DeSoto prosecutor: trial depends on public defender

Ronald Littlehale, 64, of Holmes Beach — alleged to have solicited minors and possess and transmit child porn — has been held in the DeSoto County jail since his November 2011 arrest.

The prosecutor assigned said July 11 she is awaiting word from the Littlehale’s attorney, a public defender, to determine whether Littlehale will stand trial or attempt to negotiate a plea agreement.

“Right now, I have no indication whether he’ll be going to trial or if he wants to negotiate a plea,” said assistant state attorney Rebekah Bragg of the DeSoto office of the State Attorney of the 12th Judicial Circuit. “Obviously with Mr. Littlehale, he’s facing charges that dictate prison time.

“I don’t know if the public defender is very busy,” said Bragg, adding that her disclosure of documents to the defense is complete and “the ball is in his court.”

Littlehale is charged with 13 counts relating to unlawful solicitation of minors and transmission of pornography in DeSoto County. He was arrested Nov. 9, 2011, at his residence in the 7600 block of Gulf Drive on warrants from DeSoto County.

At his Jan. 10 arraignment, Littlehale pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of transmission of harmful material to minors by an electronic device, two counts of obscene communication/soliciting a child for any unlawful sexual conduct by computer and one count of electronic transmission of pornography.

Nineteen additional counts of possession of child pornography were recommended Jan. 26 by the Holmes Beach Police Department, the result of an executed search warrant at Littlehale’s home.

The new charges allege unlawful possession with the intent to promote 16 still images and three video images of child pornography. These charges came after HBPD seized Littlehale’s computer and cell phone, which then were examined at a crime laboratory in Tampa, according to Detective Sgt. Brian Hall.

The HBPD charges have not yet been filed by the state attorney.

A sting operation by the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office, together with a central Florida task force on Internet-related crimes, led to the charges. A DeSoto County resident reported suspicious activity involving Littlehale on her Facebook account, according to law enforcement reports.

Littlehale’s next court appearance before Judge James S. Parker will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the DeSoto County Courthouse, 115 E. Oak St., Arcadia.

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