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December 11. 2012 11:52PM

Exeter man competent for trial in child porn case

Thomas Rogers of Exeter was deemed competent to stand trial on charges of possession of child abuse sex images. He was arrested last Dec. 23. (COURTESY)

BRENTWOOD - An Exeter man accused of having more than 247,000 images of child pornography has been found competent to stand trial after a mental health evaluation.

Lawyers representing Thomas Rogers, 45, filed an agreement in court on Friday acknowledging their client was deemed competent to trial. Rogers was expected to appear before a judge that same day as part of a hearing that would have determined whether he was able to assist in his own defense.

An evaluation dated Oct. 16 concluded that Rogers was competent, according to the agreement.

Defense lawyers requested that Rogers undergo a competency evaluation days after he stabbed himself in the head with a pencil while being held at the Rockingham County jail, according to officials.

Investigators say the injury was initially reported as a suicide attempt.

Rogers faces 22 counts of possession of child sexual abuse images and five counts of attempted possession of child sexual abuse images.

He was arrested by Exeter police last Dec. 23. Property managers to Rogers' apartment told police they stumbled upon a trove of child pornography while doing a routine inspection.

Rogers was not home at the time, but allegedly left the pornography in plain view on his desk, police said. Rogers kept the images in a variety of places around his apartment - on his computer, in a stack of photographs on his desk and in a printed photo album that was at least 21 pages long, according to prosecutors. Exeter police also found roughly 1,400 videos on Rogers' computer after obtaining a search warrant.

Each of the charges carries a potential 7-1/2- to 15-year prison term. Prosecutors have the option under state law to seek a 20 year sentence. A March 4 trial date has been set for the case.

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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.

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