Daniel Blackburn was found guilty Tuesday of 35 counts of possession of child pornography.

TAVARES — Jurors who found 80-year-old Daniel Blackburn guilty Tuesday of possessing 35 child pornography images cringed when they saw the pictures.


“It was tough,” said jury foreman Aaron Paul, after leaving the courthouse. He said he had to do his civic duty, but looking at the images was the worst part.


“I’m going to try to forget it,” he said, but doubted he ever would. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”


One juror, who works for a computer tech company, fought back tears as the prosecutor showed the images on a large screen TV. Another put his hand over his mouth. The lone woman on the six-member jury looked more and more grim with each display.


Blackburn was brought down by the owners of Phoenix Computer Repair in Eustis, who called police when they saw the images.


The technicians were not surprised. Blackburn had told Kristy Poe, who owns the shop with her husband, Steven, not to worry about the wallpaper on the screen. It was a photo of a young girl “flashing him” by lifting her shirt.


He said it was “just a neighbor girl.”


Poe soon discovered other, more graphic images of girls ages 4 to 10 or 11, either posed provocatively or being sexually assaulted. She said she remembered one picture of a 6-or 7-year-old girl “with male genitalia in front of her face.”


“We turned off the monitor, walked outside and called the police,” she testified.


Defense attorney Jeff Pfister, in his closing statement, said the story doesn’t make any sense.


“Who, knowing this stuff is there, would drop it off at a computer store?” he asked.


Assistant State Attorney John Camerota had his theory. Blackburn and his girlfriend of 30 years, Terry Bernstein, were longtime customers.


“You’re going to take it to people you trust,” Camerota said. “Thankfully, they turned him in.”


Bernstein died a year before Blackburn was arrested last February. She was the main customer, and she was “the boss,” Pfister told the jury.


But Poe said Bernstein used an inexpensive laptop. Blackburn tried to sell it to Phoenix after she died. Poe decided not to buy it, but not before she checked it out. There was no porn on the laptop.


Blackburn told detectives that Bernstein was “into” such pictures. But prosecutors said there was no evidence to support that.


A computer forensics investigator from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, said he examined the computer and said the images were not hidden but just two mouse clicks away from being opened. The username on the computer was “Darks,” which was linked to Blackburn.


Police were waiting for him when he scheduled a time to pick up his computer. He said he thought that was why he was being arrested. “He said he thought it might be illegal to have them,” police quoted him in the arrest affidavit.


“He said he first began looking at pictures of underage girls while doing searches for child actresses that he hoped to convince to send him autographed pictures.”


Circuit Judge G. Richard Singeltary ordered a presentence investigation.