Donald Maberry

Donald Maberry

A Chubbuck man convicted of possessing child pornography stemming from a 2018 Chubbuck police and Department of Homeland Security investigation was sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison last week.

As part of a plea agreement reached with Bannock County prosecutors, Donald Joseph Maberry, 47, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of possessing child pornography in December in exchange for the dismissal of seven additional counts of possessing child pornography, a drug possession charge, an injury to a child charge and an enhancement charge for being a persistent violator, all felonies, according to court records.

Sixth District Judge Robert C. Naftz sentenced Maberry on May 18 to a unified sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the three felony child porn possession charges, of which all will run concurrently, court records say. The sentence Naftz imposed will also be concurrent with a unified five-year prison sentence Maberry was ordered to serve on May 19 for probation violation in connection with a felony drug possession charge he was convicted of in 2015 in Oneida County, court records say.

Of the 10-year prison sentence related to the child pornography conviction, Naftz imposed a four-year fixed period, meaning Maberry must serve four years of the 10-year prison sentence before he will become eligible for parole.

Additionally, Naftz denied a request for leniency Maberry filed on May 21.

Initially, prosecutors in Bannock County reached an agreement with Maberry’s Pocatello attorney, John Bulger, that included two different sentencing recommendations — either two years fixed and eight years indeterminate, or four years fixed and six years indeterminate. If Maberry’s test results from a mandatory psychosexual evaluation indicated he was a high risk to re-offend, the recommendation was for Naftz to impose the sentence with the longer fixed period.

After Naftz imposed the four-year fixed, six-year indeterminate sentence, Maberry challenged the ruling based on the plea agreement reached in December. It remains unclear what Maberry’s psychosexual evaluation score indicated because those records are exempt from public disclosure, according to state statutes.

The Bannock County prosecutor who handled Mayberry’s case did not return the Idaho State Journal’s request for comment Tuesday.

Ultimately, Naftz denied the request and upheld the stricter sentence.

The criminal investigation into Maberry began in October 2018 when authorities were contacted about a phone that had been left at Walmart in Chubbuck. The reporting party indicated the phone’s wallpaper showed a nude juvenile female, according to police reports the Journal obtained last fall, which add that the phone was initially unlocked when it was found. A similar image was later located on the lock screen.

Chubbuck Police worked in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the charges against Maberry.

Authorities were able to obtain the phone’s number and discovered it belonged to Maberry. They contacted him and asked him to come into the Chubbuck Police Department to get the phone and answer some questions.

Maberry confirmed the phone was his and unlocked it for officers, police said. When asked about the images on his phone, he told officers that he had downloaded them from an internet porn site.

Maberry told officers that someone else used his phone from time to time and that person was the one who had downloaded the images, police said.

Authorities later obtained a search warrant for the phone and found additional child porn and sexually exploitative child images, according to police reports.

Maberry was subsequently arrested and charged with the felony crimes.

Chubbuck police told the Journal in March 2019 that a child was taken from Maberry’s home earlier that month in connection with the felony injury to a child charge, though that juvenile was not associated with any of the sexual exploitation charges.

Police told the Journal in March 2019 that the child was removed from Maberry’s home due to the disturbing living conditions. There were no sewer, water or power services in the home, multiple windows were broken and there were other unsanitary conditions, according to police reports.

In addition to the unified 10-year prison sentence Naftz delivered last week, he ordered Maberry to pay just over $3,400 in fine and court costs and credited Maberry for having already served 14 months in the Bannock County Jail awaiting the adjudication of his criminal case.

Maberry must also register as a sex offender with the Idaho State Police, court records say.