Man Convicted Of Child Porn Possession Commits Suicide Minutes Before Sentencing

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Palm Coast, FL - A man convicted of 30 counts of child pornography possession ends his life in the parking lot of the Flagler County courthouse minutes before he was to be sentenced.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) says they learned about the incident on Tuesday (June 8) from the deceased, 48-year-old Mario Arter, after he called 911 and told deputies that they could find his remains in his truck.

Flagler deputies, along with Sheriff Rick Staly and the Bunnell Police Department (BPD), rushed to the location and found Arter in the driver's seat unresponsive with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Medical personnel came to attempt life-saving measures, but Arter was eventually pronounced dead.

After FCSO took over the investigation, deputies learned that Arter was at the courthouse for a 10:00 sentencing hearing in connection to his May 2020 arrest for 30 counts of child pornography possession.

Deputies began to investigate that case after receiving a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in December 2019. After a lengthy investigation and a search of Arter's residence in April 2020, deputies seized several electronics. Following further forensics analysis, investigators uncovered numerous images and videos of child pornography.

It wasn't until May 9, 2020 that Arter was arrested by Florida Highway Patrol.

“It is unfortunate that rather than accept responsibility for his crimes Arter decided to take his own life,” Sheriff Staly said. “Our Cybercrimes Unit did an excellent job building a strong case against Arter and he knew he was likely going to prison. It is unfortunate this was the solution he chose, which will again affect innocent people.”

From the Flagler County Sheriff's Office:
The FCSO wants residents to know that suicide is never the answer and that there are many resources available to help those who wish to seek it out, especially in your darkest moments. If you or someone you know needs help you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Flagler Life Line resources by clicking here.

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