Former CMU professor released from custody - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Former CMU professor released from custody

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MT. PLEASANT (WJRT) -

(11/21/12) - He is accused of having child pornography on his work computer. Now, the former CMU professor is released from custody.

Fifty-eight-year-old William Merrill walked out of the federal courthouse in Flint with his family by his side.

A detention hearing was held Wednesday to determine whether Merrill should stay behind bars or be released.

His attorney says the judge made the right decision.

Holding hands with his wife, Merrill walked of the federal courthouse Wednesday. His family was there for the hearing.

New details were revealed as the U.S. attorney, Libby Kelly Dill, presented the case before the magistrate as to why Merrill should remain in jail.

The attorney stated more than 6,800 images of child pornographic material have been uncovered. There's thousands more according to her report from the FBI.

In her statement, she also released that Merrill was a elementary school teacher in Florida years ago. The report also said he has a history of depression and has tried taking his own life on several occasions.

The U.S. attorney also argued that Merrill could be a danger to himself.

The defense attorney, Dan O'Neil, argued Merrill is a successful tenured professor, there was no evidence of distribution and this was a "dark secret kept to himself confined to the four corners of his office."

Federal court documents revealed this week say Merrill said he was abused as a young boy. His attorney backed up that claim.

"I can only tell you the abuse is true, when he was a young teenager and the connection from being abused and looking at child pornography is a connection that the experts will have to make," O'Neil said. "There is the element that my client was looking at these images to see if he might see himself. A lot of this stuff is very old and produced in Germany, China, Russia, 30 some years ago, so the connection is indisputable."

Merrill has several conditions of his release, including not being around children or the Internet.

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