Four individuals who were investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office for child exploitation and assault have been sentenced, as announced by Attorney General Lynn Fitch. Fitch expressed pride in her team’s diligent work on these difficult cases, as well as in the concerned citizens who reported the crimes. She urged anyone who suspects abuse to report it, emphasizing the potential to change and save lives.
Edward Anthony Rahaim of Hattiesburg was sentenced on March 8, 2023, by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), with 12 years to serve and 8 years suspended, for one count of aggravated assault domestic violence. Rahaim also received a 6-month sentence for simple assault domestic violence, to run concurrently.
Michael Jerome Murphy of Courtland was sentenced on March 9, 2023, by Panola County Circuit Court Judge Smith Murphey to 40 years in the custody of the MDOC, with 8 years to serve, 5 years of supervised probation, and 27 years of non-reporting probation for one count of possession of child exploitation material. Murphy must serve his sentence day-for-day without the possibility of parole and register as a sex offender upon release. This case originated from a tip received by General Fitch’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
David Hammond of Petal was sentenced on March 10, 2023, by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich to 20 years in the custody of the MDOC, with 6 years to serve and 5 years of post-release supervision by MDOC for one count of child exploitation. Hammond must register as a sex offender upon release. The case also began with a tip received through NCMEC by investigators with General Fitch’s ICAC task force.
On the same day, Justin Lance Ducre of Carriere was sentenced by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich to 20 years in the custody of the MDOC, with 8 years to serve day-for-day and 5 years of supervised post-release supervision by MDOC, for one count of child exploitation. Ducre must register as a sex offender upon release. Ducre’s arrest was part of Attorney General Fitch’s “Operation Sweet Tooth,” a multi-jurisdiction operation led by the ICAC task force, which included the assistance of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).See a typo? Report it here.