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Sizemore pleads not guilty

Wakefield man accused of possessing child porn still free on bail

August 06, 2009
OSSIPEE — An East Wakefield man, who faces more than 100 years in prison on 10 felony counts of possession of child pornography, pleaded not guilty on each count in Carroll County Superior Court on July 29.

Matthew D. Sizemore, 52, of 104 Burley Park Drive, who was indicted last month, remains free on $25,000 cash bail.

During last week's arraignment, Judge Steven Houran didn't change the original bail amount although Sizemore's attorney, Harry Starbranch, Jr. of the Portsmouth law firm, Jeffco, Starbranch & Soldati, argued for lowering his bail to $25,000 personal recognizance.

Starbranch will be back in court to handle Sizemore's dispositional conference on Sept. 2 at 8:45 a.m.

Assistant County Attorney Susan Boone urged Houran not to lower the bail because $25,000 in cash was necessary to deter him from fleeing.

"I consider him a serious flight risk and a danger to the community," said Boone describing the amount of porn taken and a graphic description of what it entailed. She said he helped fuel an industry that preys on children.

But Starbranch argued the $25,000 cash bail was "excessive" because Sizemore has been cooperative, owns property in Wakefield and hasn't had serious trouble with the law before.

However, Boone noted that Sizemore did have a 1990 possession of marijuana on his record.

Starbranch said the bail was set so high in part because police allege they seized marijuana his property. However, much of the alleged marijuana was actually just pepper plants or seedlings, according to Starbranch.

But Boone disagreed and said the marijuana was "the least of the state's concerns."

Houran set several conditions for Sizemore while he is on bail. He have no internet access, no contact with persons under 16 years of age, refrain from possession of firearms, dangerous weapons or ammunition and refrain from excessive use of alcohol, refrain from drug use, and must submit to drug testing, and pay a $10 per week supervision fee.

Starbranch said his client was concerned police seized his firearms. So, Sizemore arranged for a friend from Barrington to take the weapons. Nine guns of various sizes and caliber were seized by Wakefield police from the home.

The court will allow the man to take the weapons pending a criminal background check. The man was sworn and testified that he didn't have a criminal background and that understood his responsibilities.

Houran warned the man not to give the weapons back without the court's permission to do so.

"The consequences for you could be severe if you do that," said Houran.

Sizemore is an electrical contractor who police say lives alone at the home and to their knowledge has no regular contact with children.

Starbranch said Sizemore is "shaken up" by the allegations and has lost a fair amount of money in electrical contracts since his arrest. Sizemore is even renting out part of his house to make ends meet, said Starbranch.

Each count, a Class A felony, is punishable by jail term of seven and one half to 15 years. Sizemore was charged following an investigation conducted by the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, members of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, and Wakefield Police Department.

He was first arrested on June 5, when members of the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, executed a search warrant and seized computers at the home. At that time, Sizemore was charged with manufacturing and possession of illegal drugs (marijuana) when police allegedly found plants growing outside. Then Sizemore was rearrested charged on June 9 with possession of child pornography.

After the Superior Court arraignment, Sizemore was taken downstairs to the Carroll County District Court where a probable cause hearing was held on the drug charges. Judge Robert Varney ruled there was enough evidence to move forward with the drug charges.

Lt. Mark O'Brien of Wakefield Police testified that Sizemore said he didn't expect to be investigated for child porn.

"He thought they were after the pot plants," said O'Brien who said 48 plants were seized.

O'Brien explained he and Police Chief Ken Fifield arrived at Sizemore's home a few minutes before the Sheriff's department. The Wakefield officers knocked on the door and told Sizemore that Sheriff's department had a search warrant for his home.

O'Brien testified that Sizemore said he 'knew' the search warrant was about some marijuana plants growing by the side of his house and he couldn't believe he was getting busted because the plants were grown for personal use.

Starbranch asked if the police were going to have the plants analyzed.

O'Brien replied the plants were at the lab.

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