Northrop Grumman supervisor blasts verdict, faces a possible 20 years in federal prison. Bruce Michael Orr fought federal prosecutors in Mobile to a standstill two months ago but could not beat back child pornography allegations a second time, as a jury found him guilty Thursday of two criminal counts.
The 52-year-old Northrop Grumman Corp. supervisor now faces the prospect of a prison sentence that will not end until he is an old man. The jury convicted him of receiving child pornography, which carries a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years, and possession of child pornography. Considering advisory sentencing guidelines in this case, Chief U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade is likely to impose a 20-year sentence.
Parole has been abolished in the federal system, so Orr will have to serve the entire amount except for the 54 days a year he is eligible to knock off for good behavior. Orr, who vowed to appeal, embraced tearful relatives and supporters as he left the courtroom and angrily blamed his conviction on what he described as untrue testimony by expert witness Gus Dimitrelos, a retired Secret Service agent who now has a consulting business and runs the Alabama Computer Forensics Laboratory in Spanish Fort.
Granade allowed Orr to remain free at least temporarily until his sentencing in September. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Murphy said she would look into filing a written request to jai l Orr based on the threat she said he poses to the community and suicidal comments she said he once voiced to his second wife in an unrelated incident. Orr's daughter, Gidget Johnson, issued a handwritten statement lambasting the verdict and decrying a pre-trial decision by Granade to restrict the testimony of a defense expert witness who missed a deadline for giving prosecutors informant ion from his analysis. "I have always had faith in our judicial system. I truly believed that our government CARED about whether someone was innocent or guilty," she wrote. "My eyes have been opened.
Murphy said she does not know what convinced the jury of nine men and three women, but she welcomed their verdict. "I think it's just part of our continuing commitment to protecting children from predators," she said. Defense attorney Jeff Deen said he was disappointed by the jury's decision. "I don't get to talk to the jury. I don't know how they evaluate evidence," he said.
Throughout three days of testimony, forensics experts testified that the home computer in Orr's Tara Drive residence in west Mobile contained thousands of images of young children engaged in sex acts or posed in a sexual manner. The computer's memory banks also showed signs that the computer had visited dozens of Internet sites offering child pornography.
Dimitrelos told jurors that all of that material was accessed when Orr's password-protected account was active. There was no child pornography on the accounts of Orr's stepdaughter or his then-wife. Dimitrelos testified that his examination revealed that Orr's password was removed on June 18, 2005, the date Orr's now ex-wife, Silinda Orr, says she confronted her husband about the child pornography.
In addition, Dimitrelos testified that the Orr account had a specially created "shortcut" taking the user directly to a hidden file on the computer that stores information about the Web sites visited. He said the shortcut, along with all of the information in the temporary Internet file folder, were deleted June 18. Dimitrelos said he was able to retrieve the information because computers never permanently delete data until their memory banks are full. Orr adamantly denied ever purposely viewing child pornography, which he testified was a "criminally disgusting act." He suggested that Silinda Orr or her daughter might have planted the child porn to blackmail him into more favorable terms in their divorce case.