Megan’s Law evaluation ordered for 60-year-old

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Blair County Judge Wade A. Kagarise ordered a Megan’s Law assessment for a 60-year-old Altoona man who late Monday entered no-contest pleas to child pornography charges.

David Eugene Burke Sr., of 412 Sixth St. also entered a similar plea to criminal use of a communication facility.

Burke was arrested in April as the result of an investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit, which attempts to intercept pornography directly from a user’s computer.

In Burke’s case, the unit was able to download videos of children involved in sexual acts from a computer in his home. An agent in the AG’s office focused on Burke’s computer after noticing 10 files were available for sharing.

Altoona police in April served a search warrant for Burke’s home. They confiscated a computer containing additional child pornography.

Burke’s appearance before Kagarise came late Monday after Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva presided over a review of the criminal court’s trial list containing several hundred cases.

The defendant was among a handful of defendants who decided to dispose of their cases through pleas.

They were sent to Kagarise’s courtroom for disposition.

A no-contest plea is one in which the suspect does not admit guilt but does admit the evidence is strong enough to bring about a conviction if he goes to trial.

Kagarise explained that it is treated the same as a guilty plea.

He accepted Burke’s pleas to the three charges, ordering a presentence investigation by the Blair County Department of Parole and Probation and a review of the case by the Pennsylvania Sexual Assessment Review Board under Megan’s Law.

The Megan’s Law review will help the judge decide if Burke should be declared a sexually violent predator.

Burke was originally charged with seven offenses. The remaining four charges are to be dismissed when he is sentenced.

He was represented by Assistant Public Defender John Siford.

The prosecution was represented by Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher Jones.

The pleas were open, meaning there was no agreement on his sentence, but the standard range sentence for each of the pornography charges is three months, Jones stated.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.