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Two charged in child pornography cases

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Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 12:00 pm

A Bandera County man has been arrested on 20 indictments in Kendall County for possession of child pornography; and a second Bandera County man who was indicted in April on eight state charges of sexual misconduct with a child has been accused by federal authorities with production of child pornography, authorities said.

The cases involving Edgar Clayton Miller III, 49, in Boerne and Kendall County and Michael Dewayne Sheeds, 61, in Bandera County, are not related to each other, authorities said.

Each was disclosed in May after a Kendall County Grand Jury returned the 20 child pornography possession cases against Miller, and federal authorities announced that Sheeds, an award-winning truck driver whose winnings reportedly resulted in a truck stop in San Antonio being named for him, was arrested on May 22 on the federal production of child pornography case.

The complaint against Sheeds was unsealed on May 23 after he had been arrested by the San Antonio Child Exploitation Task Force, a news release from the FBI’s San Antonio office.  The charge against him carries a penalty of at least 15 years and no more than 30 years in federal prison if convicted.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Matt King said Bandera County deputies assisted Kendall County authorities when they arrested Miller last month.

Miller had been living in a trailer the 1200 block of Maple Street in Bandera since being convicted of assault by choking in Kendall County in February 2018 and beginning his sentence of five years of probation.

His problems resurfaced in early April when the victim of that assault called the Kendall County probation office to say Miller had been in contact with her in March, which violated the terms of his probation.

Authorities also had received information indicating that Miller had compiled images of child pornography on his cell phone.  When he was brought in for questioning about violating his probation, his phone was examined and numerous images of child pornography were found on it, said Lt. Butch Matjeka, who is in charge of the Kendall County Sheriff’s criminal investigations unit.

While Miller was indicted for the possession of at least 20 images of child pornography, authorities said he had collected hundreds of sexually explicit images of children on a variety of devices.  Many of the children were about 3-years-old, said Kendall County Special Victims Prosecutor Nick Socias, who presented the case to the grand jury.

He said authorities are trying to identify the children in the images.

Currently, however, no charges against Miller in Bandera County are under investigation, Chief Deputy King said.

Sheeds, on the other hand, had been under investigation in Bandera County since January.

He was arrested on an initial sexual assault charge on Jan. 9 and had five more sexual assault and indecency with a child charges added before a Bandera County grand jury indicted him on April 9 for eight sexual offenses involving children, including one charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child and two charges of continuous sexual assault of a child, authorities said.

King said two underaged girls allegedly were victimized by Sheeds, who lived in the 100 block of Biloxi Pass in the Wharton’s Dock area of the county.  The alleged assaults occurred over several years, the chief deputy said.

Sheeds’ bail was set at $320,000 following his state indictment, but he covered that bail and was released from jail on May 17, only to be rearrested by federal task force members less than a week later.

The FBI said Bandera County discovered several mobile devices in Sheeds’ vehicle after deputies obtained a search warrant on that vehicle.  Deputies then asked for the FBI’s assistance in reviewing the digital evidence.

The bureau said it recovered child pornography on Sheeds’ cell phone.

Federal authorities also said in an affidavit supporting the arrest warrant for Sheeds that they secured a video allegedly produced by the defendant in which he engaged in numerous sexual acts with an underage girl in the cab of his semi-truck on Jan. 6 in Bandera County.

Sheeds was detained by federal authorities without bond after his May 22 arrest.  He later waived his right to a detention hearing, and U.S. Magistrate-Judge Richard B. Farrer ordered on Wednesday, May 29, that he continue to be held without bond pending trial.

Sheeds last year was named the grand champion in the Pilot Flying J Road Warrior online contest for 3.5 million safe driving miles in big-rig trucks over 30 years. 

Land Line Magazine, a publication serving the professional driving industry, said he also was named to the American Trucking Association’s American Road Team for 2017-2018 and was chosen as an honoree in the TA & Petro Citizen Driver award program in 2015.

As part of the latter award, the Petro station off Interstate 10 in San Antonio was renamed the Michael Sheeds Petro Stopping Center, the magazine said in a Thursday, May 30 report.

It also said the company’s website no longer lists Sheeds’ name on the truck stop, and he no longer was listed as a Citizen Driver recipient on the Citizen Driver webpage.

Pilot Flying J said in a statement issued after Sheeds’ arrest that it was aware of the charges and investigation involving the trucker.

“If the allegations are true, this is a clear violation of the rules and regulations surrounding our Road Warrior contestants.  Pending the investigation, we have removed him from all communications.

“Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this extremely sad and unfortunate situation.”

Neither Sheeds’ federal public defender or his attorney in the state’s sexual assault cases could be reached for comment.

Miller’s bond was set at $250,000 for each of his 20 indictments, for a total bond of $5 million.  He remained in custody in Kendall County earlier this week.

Each of the felony offenses Miller faces could draw up to 10 years in prison, meaning he could be jailed for 200 years if he is convicted on all charges and the prison terms are stacked.

Miller’s attorney Fernando Cortes said he planned to contest the possession charges and felt that state authorities had gone overboard in stacking cases against his client that could sent him to jail for a longer term than some individuals who had been convicted of molesting children of having improper contact with children.

But Socias and Kendall County District Attorney Nicole Bishop offered no apologies for their handling of the investigation.

Socias said the child pornography that he hopes to show Miller possessed was one of the largest and most obscene collections he had viewed and that Miller was actively engaged in trading images of child pornography with other men.

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