Feds Seeking Forfeiture Of A Tulsa Home

Thursday, December 7th 2006, 9:51 am
By: News On 6

Federal prosecutors aren't just seeking jail time for Tulsa resident David Abston now they plan to take his house as well.

Abston was arrested November 16th after he skipped a federal court hearing on child pornography charges, sold his truck and bought an airline ticket for Los Angeles.

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says court documents give more details about exactly what Abston is accused of and why federal prosecutors think he should be forced to hand over his Tulsa home.

David Abston was originally charged with distributing three images of child pornography from his home computer, images with labels like, "naked preteen boys," and "just teen kids." Now a new federal indictment also lists possession of a firearm by a fugitive, found when Abston was arrested after skipping a court date and criminal forfeiture. Criminal forfeiture calls for the defendant to forfeit any property "traceable to gross profits or other proceeds the defendant obtained from such offense and any property, used to commit such offense."

Federal prosecutors list those properties as Abston's computer and the house itself. Abston could be ordered to hand over a nearly $200,000 south Tulsa home to the federal government.

Such forfeitures have been done before under the law in child pornography cases, but Abston's attorney believes it's a weak link and says his client isn't accused of any crime involving the house." Defense attorney Keith Ward says quote- "The position that a person's home should be forfeited simply because they allegedly had three images of naked children on their computer is ridiculous, overkill and just piling on."

While Tulsa Police are investigating the possible luring of boys to the home, then taking pornographic photos there, the federal case is only alleging the computer distribution charges. Still, prosecutors say under the law anything that facilitated the crime is subject to forfeiture.

Abston is still being held in the Tulsa County jail without bond. His trial date is set for January 22nd.