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

Health care boosting Coweta's economic outlook

Coweta County has taken the lead as the strongest job market in the Three Rivers region over the past year with an employment gain of 8.1 pe ... Read More


Two injured in rollover accident

Two teenage girls were injured and transported to the hospital after their vehicle overturned multiple times on Highway 154 Thursday. About ... Read More


Suspicious van harbors harmless investigator

A number of SummerGrove residents recently noticed a suspicious man who was allegedly watching children in their neighborhood from a gray va ... Read More


Downtown cleanup Saturday

Operation Cleanup, a trash pickup project for the back streets of downtown Newnan, will be held Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. Everyone is invit ... Read More


New retail bakery coming to Newnan

Your Chef to Go Inc. will be expanding their catering business to include a retail bakery, as the Newnan City Council approved its rezoning ... Read More

Historical society exhibit open this weekend

The Newnan-Coweta Historical Society will be opening two new exhibits this weekend. The Simple Pleasures national photo contest open Sunday ... Read More