Rocky Fleming, left, 41, speaks with his court-appointed attorney Jim Wilson after being sentenced Friday evening to 35 years in prison on charges he manufactured child pornography. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor
A Cannon Air Force Base staff sergeant, charged with five counts of manufacturing child pornography, showed no emotion when a district judge Friday evening sentenced him to 35 years in prison.
He didn’t react when Deputy District Attorney Brian McKay described his actions as sick and horrific.
He was impassive when his court-appointed attorney Jim Wilson told the court about how he had paid for his actions in the loss of his career.
The only time Rocky Fleming, 41, showed much emotion was when his sisters told the court they could not believe their brother would commit such crimes.
“I don’t know the person you have been describing here,” his sister Janice Fleming told the court. “He has always been there for me.”
District Judge Stephen Quinn said letters from family portraying Fleming as a hard worker and the fact he has no prior criminal record prompted his decision to take 10 years off the maximum sentence reached in a plea agreement.
“The devastating effect this has had … will be long-lasting and I’m sure the victims will remember this the rest of their lives,” Quinn said.
Fleming, decked in orange inmate garb and wearing a grisly beard, listened to McKay plead for the maximum of 45 years in prison on charges he paid three teens — 13, 15 and 16 — between $1,000 and $2,000 to strip nude while he videotaped and took pictures.
The mother of the 13-year-old girl is accused of prostituting her daughter to Fleming, who took pictures or filmed her nude. Marcus Ray, 18, is accused of having sex with one of the girls while Fleming filmed and took photographs.
The mother and Ray are incarcerated in the Curry County Adult Detention Center and are awaiting upcoming trials.
The father of the 13-year-old victim told the court he warned Fleming to stay away from his family but Fleming continued “to do what he wanted to do.” He said his daughter and two other children in the family have had to undergo intensive counseling because of the situation.
Like McKay and her son, the grandmother of the 13-year-old victim pleaded with Quinn to impose the maximum sentence.
“Anything less than 45 years would be a great injustice,” she said. “I think this man is a disgrace to society, to the military, to the whole human race.”
Fleming was originally charged in May with over 100 counts of manufacturing child pornography after he lured the girls to his residence at 1509 Brentwood Drive via a Yahoo Internet New Mexico chat site, Clovis police said.
Police arrested him after an unknown assailant beat him and shot him at his residence. Police say Fleming has not cooperated with authorities and they do not know who beat him.
Originally investigated as an attempted homicide, the focus changed when police entered his home to investigate the crime and found nude pictures of the girls on Fleming’s computer. Fleming’s computer turned up more than 6,000 photos, still images and video clips of naked females, police allege.
Per plea agreement, Fleming pleaded guilty to five counts of manufacturing child pornography.
As part of his sentence, Fleming will have to register as a sex offender and will be placed in the prison’s sex offender program. For Fleming’s safety, Quinn decided not to place him in the prison’s general population. Quinn also ordered that Fleming pay for the victims’ counseling.
Fleming, whose sentencing didn’t begin until 10:30 p.m. because detention center officials forgot to pick him up from the jail in Spur, Texas, has been in the Air Force for 19 years and was one year from retirement, Wilson said.
Capt. Andre Kok of Cannon Public Affairs said Fleming is still a staff sergeant in the Air Force. He said the Air Force is aware of Fleming’s guilty plea, but has yet to make a decision on his future.