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Trial begins for Paso Robles man charged with child sex crimes

Jason Porter.jpg
Posted at 6:17 PM, May 25, 2021

The trial for a Paso Robles man charged with dozens of child sex crimes is now underway.

Jason Porter was first arrested by Paso Robles police nearly five years ago.

He's stayed behind bars while his case wound its way through the court system, even at times representing himself. But this week, testimony began.

Porter on Tuesday wore a gray button-down shirt and sat alongside his attorney, Jeffry Radding, at a courtroom at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse.

Two witnesses were called to the stand, a couple. The wife testified that she used to be a friend of Porter's back in 2009.

She told the court that she called the police in June of 2016 after catching Porter taking photos of her then 6-year-old daughter, also testifying that Porter did not seem to think that anything was wrong with the photos he took.

When prosecutor Melissa Chabra presented evidence, the witness appeared shaken and requested a break before coming back and resuming her testimony.

Back in 2016, following Porter's initial arrest, police searched his home and say they found dozens of cameras and other devices.

They said the devices revealed thousands of videos and images of suspected child pornography, some of which, police said, appeared to have been manufactured by Porter.

Police also said nine victims were initially identified, the youngest allegedly 1-year-old.

The investigation led to Porter being re-arrested a month later, in July 2016, landing the now 49-year-old back behind bars with bail set at $7 million.

Porter waived the right to a jury trial, so the case is being heard by Superior Court Judge Barry T. LeBarbara, who will make the final ruling.

KSBY reached out to Porter's attorney, who said he had no comment.

Testimony will resume Wednesday morning.

Officials with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office said they expected the trial to end by the end of next week.

If convicted, Porter, who remains in custody, faces a life sentence.