9 Arrests and 3 Sentencing’s on Child Exploitation and Related Charges

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, in partnership with the Hernando Police Department, has completed a week-long effort known as Operation Blue Rain. The operation involved the use of online, undercover, and traditional investigative actions to locate individuals attempting to lure children to meet for sex or asking them to produce child pornography.
The operation was coordinated by the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General and the Hernando Police Department with the assistance of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Panola County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tishomingo County Sheriff’s Office.
“Nothing motivates me more than protecting our children from predators who would rob them of their innocence,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “I would like to thank the law enforcement officers, investigators, and all of our federal, state, and local partners who assisted in Operation Blue Rain for their hard work and continued support in our fight to protect our children and our communities.”
Operation Blue Rain led to the arrest of at least six individuals on charges related to the sexual exploitation or enticement of minors, as well as three suspects arrested on charges related to narcotics. With investigations still ongoing, the operation may result in additional arrests. Law enforcement officers served eight search warrants in support of the operation.
The following were arrested and charged as part of Operation Blue Rain:
Michael Murphy, 37, was arrested on allegations of accessing child exploitation material following a search warrant. Murphy was apprehended at his place of employment in Panola County.
Terry Eugene Johnson III, 23, was arrested and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child. Johnson made arrangements to meet the child for sexually explicit conduct at a location in DeSoto County.
Rick Russell, 21, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
Johnny Allen Polnitz, 23, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
Tailya Tanee Smith, 20, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
Deaundra Donelle Wilson, 29, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
Johnathan Deshaun Ford, 21, was arrested in DeSoto County and charged with child exploitation for enticing a child to meet for sexually explicit conduct.
Jermichael Parker, 26, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in DeSoto County.
Richard Carter, 62, who is already a registered sex offender, was arrested on charges originating from the State of Florida. Pending charges allege Carter sexually abused a minor in Mississippi and Florida. Mississippi investigators located Carter and collected evidence from Carter’s residence in Tishomingo County.
Sentencing in Three Child Exploitation Cases
Attorney General Lynn Fitch also announced sentencing in three cases prosecuted by the Cyber Crime Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
“Cases like these are heartbreaking, particularly when you consider the trauma that the young victims of these predators endure,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “I am grateful for the investigators and prosecutors in the Attorney General’s Office and our partners in law enforcement. We will continue working together to put an end to the victimization of the vulnerable through child exploitation and pornography.”
The first case originated from a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) tip reporting the presence of child sexual abuse material located on a specified user account. Using advanced investigative techniques and the application of digital forensics, investigators were able to identify the suspect and determine his location with the assistance of the Mississippi Sex Offender Registry. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators located an external hard drive containing 34 files of child sexual abuse material, eight of those files were videos depicting child sexual abuse.
Jeremy Wayne Boyle, 43, who was previously convicted of Child Exploitation in June 2003, pled guilty as a second and subsequent offender to one count of child exploitation and was sentenced on Thursday, April 22 by Forrest County Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, $250 to the Forrest County Public Defenders’ Fund, and all court costs.
The second case originated from a Maintenance Supervisor for the Leake County Jail who observed the defendant looking at child exploitation images in the jail GED classroom. The Maintenance Supervisor notified the Chief of Security for the Leake County Jail, and the area was secured. The defendant subsequently admitted to viewing child exploitation images. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators of the Cyber Crime Division of the Attorney General’s Office were able to determine that the defendant possessed over 139 images of child exploitation material.
David Stough, 50, an inmate of the Leake County Jail, pled guilty to one count of child exploitation and was sentenced on Friday, April 16 by Leake County Circuit Judge Caleb May to 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and all court costs.
The third case originated from an independent investigation by the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Division, which had determined a computer crime had occurred in Picayune, Mississippi.
Michael Justin Palmer, 41, pled guilty to four counts of child exploitation and was sentenced on Monday, April 5 by Pearl River County Circuit Judge Anthony Mozingo to 10 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He will be subject to 5 years supervised probation upon release from incarceration and was ordered to pay $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund, $1,000 to the Mississippi Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund, and all court costs.
Boyle is already a registered sex offender, and Stough and Palmer will be required to register as sex offenders. All three will be required to serve their sentences day-for-day without the possibility of parole.
For a file containing all 12 mugshots, click here.
Press Release
4/27/2021