by Kristen Lowe
MIDLAND - A Midland-based petroleum engineer was sentenced to 17 years in prison and a lifetime of probation for three charges related to child pornography on Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Berry says Mark Weldon Miller is one of the largest collectors of child pornography that he has prosecuted in the Basin. According to an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miller had 15,000 images and 9,000 videos in all of his electronic devices. Many images were sadistic and masochistic, some with victims born as recently as 2008.
The defense argued that Miller was never a harm to children in person.
"To the people of Midland, I am a loving and caring man," Mark Miller said in court. "I have a heart of gold and I would never hurt anyone."
But Austin Berry argued that Miller poses a different kind of harm.
In victim impact statements, women explained how anyone viewing the videos, should be found as guilty as their abusers.
Berry read a portion of a letter from a victim under the name of "Vicky" that read, "They are trading my trauma like treats at a party and it feels like I am being raped all over again by every one of them."
The victim impact statements came from a small portion of 85 known victims from Miller's collection. About 111 victims are still unidentified.
Miller has a restitution hearing on May 24th.