Gerbert trial includes forensic testimony

by Alex McRae

Technical testimony concerning digital images of alleged victims highlighted Thursday's proceedings in Coweta County Superior Court in the child molestation trial of Alexander Sean Gerbert.

The defendant faces 11 felony counts, including child molestation, aggravated sodomy, sexual battery, incest and sexual exploitation of children.

Coweta Superior Court Judge John Simpson is presiding. Coweta Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Kevin McMurry is lead prosecutor. Attorney McCall Calhoun is defending Gerbert.

Most of Thursday's testimony — which was shortened by a previously scheduled conflict — was given by Deputy Casey Mullis of the Coweta County Sheriff's Office. Mullis is a forensic specialist in digital equipment and media. He testified about how he had performed a forensic search on Gerbert's iPhone and a Mac Mini computer owned by Gerbert. Both devices contained lewd and pornographic images when seized by authorities.

Mullis' explained how forensic testing of the devices was performed and how data regarding the content of images or documents — called metadata — could be altered if the image was transferred between devices.

Mullis explained that even if someone attempted to delete data — including photographs — both the image and metadata showing the size of the image, when it was taken and on what device it was taken could often be recovered if the data was stored in what is called "allocated space" on a computer.

Mullis said that if an image or other data was deleted, it is still on the computer or digital device but stored on what is called "unallocated space." He explained that while images and documents could be recovered from unallocated space, metadata was not always recoverable, or partially recoverable.

The case dates back to 2010, and involves two young female relatives, then aged 9 and 15. Authorities began the investigation after hearing allegations from the 9-year-old girl. After the allegations were made, authorities executed a search warrant at Gerbert's Coweta County residence only to learn that Gerbert had fled the state. In February 2012 Gerbert was located in Illinois and later extradited to Coweta to face trial.

Testimony continues today at the Coweta County Justice Center in Newnan.



More Local

New Direction

Sharefest to focus on Senoia this weekend

For seven years, area Christians have reached out to their neighbors through Sharefest. The 2010 Sharefest was a fall event, but since then ... Read More


Clay Neely

ISIS hacking group targets Griffin soldier

A group that calls itself the Islamic State Hacking Division, which claims to represent ISIS, has posted what it says is an online kill list ... Read More


Ga. first lady makes ‘fabulous’ visit to Angel’s House

The timing worked out. Georgia first lady Sandra Deal was in town as Angel’s House had its Sip and See party to unveil the refurbished ... Read More


Deal directs agencies to prepare for HB 1 approval

The Georgia Composite Medical Board will begin drafting the physician certification form and patient waiver used for patients who are seekin ... Read More


Highway 16 west

Two injured in head-on collision

Two men were transported to Atlanta Medical Center Friday after their vehicles collided head-on on Highway 16 near Sargent. About 9:45 a.m., ... Read More

‘In Dubious Battle’ based on Steinbeck novel

Movie starring Franco, Duvall to film in Coweta

A movie starring James Franco, Robert Duvall and Bryan Cranston will be filming in Coweta. “In Dubious Battle,” based on the Joh ... Read More