Wesson man sentenced to 50 years for child exploitation

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Mississippi man has been sentenced to serve a total of 50 years for multiple counts of child exploitation.

Madison and Rankin District Attorney Bubba Bramlett said Willard Geven Knight, 33, must serve the sentence without the possibility of parole.

In January 2023, Rankin County deputies began working an undercover operation to identify an individual using social networks to receive, traffic, share, and distribute images and videos depicting child pornography.

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The investigation revealed that Knight had recently moved from his Rankin County home to Wesson. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Department of Corrections, and Homeland Security assisted in the apprehension of Knight at his home.

During the search of his residence, Bramlett said multiple electronic devices were seized during the arrest and were processed by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators said those devices contained numerous photos and videos of child pornography.

At the time of his arrest, Knight was already a registered sex offender who was on supervised probation through MDOC for a 2015 conviction for child exploitation. In the 2015 case, which the Attorney General’s Office prosecuted, Knight was sentenced to 40 years to serve, with 35 of those years suspended. He spent five years in prison and was released onto supervised probation through MDOC.

Upon his arrest for the new 2023 charges, Judge Dewey Arthur revoked the suspended sentence and ordered that he serve the entirety of the previously suspended 35-year sentence.

In April 2024, Knight pled guilty to the new charges of child exploitation. Upon completion of the 35-year sentence imposed by Judge Arthur, he will serve an additional 15 years for this conviction. Knight will now serve a total of 50 years, day for day, without the possibility of parole or early release.