An Alexander man arrested early Wednesday for allegedly having hundreds of images of child pornography told authorities that his son-in-law is the city's mayor.
John Darrell Green, 69, faces 236 counts of possessing child pornography and one count of attempting to influence a public official. During his arrest, Green told officers that his son-in-law is Mayor Paul Mitchell.
"No, not at all. I can't believe he did that!" Mitchell told The Saline Courier when asked if he had knowledge of Green's alleged illegal activity. "I'm just as shocked as everyone else, and then to use my name to drag me into it."
According to Lt. Scotty Courtney, public information officer for the Saline County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received information from the National Missing and Exploited Children's Hotline about child pornography being on a computer at Green's home in the 15500 block of Birch Street in Alexander. Sheriff's detectives, along with the law enforcement officers from AICAC, Arkansas State Police investigators, special agents from Homeland Security and officers from Pine Bluff, served a warrant about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the residence.
In the early part of the probe, officers reportedly found 236 images and videos of child pornagraphy. However, Courtney said there could be more images or videos discovered as the investigation continues.
"We cannot make a determination at this point if any of the children are local," Courtney said.
Though Mitchell said his relationship with Green was "very close," he displayed a range of emotions during a telephone conversation with the Courier.
"All I can do is apologize to Alexander residents for his actions," he said. "I'm very upset. I thought my life was getting smoother and better, and here this comes. It's like 'here we go again.'"
Mitchell is referring to the fact that his wife, Genieve Marie Mitchellâ€” the daughter of Green â€” pleaded guilty in Saline County Circuit Court on Jan. 3 to two counts of possession of methamphetamine, failure to appear in Benton District Court and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia stemming from two arrests in 2011. She was sentenced to two years in a Community Correction Center followed by a one-year suspended sentence.
Outside the courtroom on Jan. 3, Mitchell told a Courier reporter, "You marry for better or worse, and I hope we can put this behind us."
Mitchell also consistently has told Courier reporters that "I've never used drugs in my life. That's one thing that I don't tolerate is drugs. If the City Council wants me to take a drug test, I'll do it every day if they want to pay for it at $50 a pop."
On Wednesday, Mitchell again echoed words of encouragement and faith in light of the sudden acknowledgment that his father-in-law was found with hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. He admits that this year has not been easy.
"I just have to put everything in the hands of the good Lord," Mitchell said.
Green is scheduled for a bond hearing Friday in Benton District Court. Courtney also said that there is "no indication that I received that there will be any additional arrests."
The Courier will continue to report this story as it develops.