COLUMBUS — A Lowndes County man arrested Saturday on charges of possessing child pornography had past convictions of sex crimes in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Robert Warren Triplett Jr., 56, of 181 Golding Road, was arrested Saturday night, after authorities — who were investigating the disappearance of Triplett”s stepdaughter, Kaila Morris, 21 — found explicit photos of minor children on a computer obtained from Triplett.
Triplett already was on non-adjudicated probation from 2003 charges of attempted sexual battery in Jackson County, said officials with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
The new charges could mean revocation of Triplett”s 10-year probation. Upon successful completion of probation, he was to have the 2003 charges dismissed and his record expunged. In 2007, the attempted sexual battery charges were amended to aggravated assault.
Non-adjudicated probation is reserved for first-time offenders, but, according to officials with the 22nd Judicial District Court, Division C, in Covington, La., Triplett was indicted, in May 1997, on charges of aggravated rape, false imprisonment or kidnapping while armed with a weapon.
Court documents show he was found guilty, by a Louisiana jury, of forcible rape in December 1997 and sentenced to serve six years in prison, including two years without parole.
But, in 2001, the charges were remanded for rehearing and Triplett pleaded guilty to simple battery. He served six months in the St. Tammany Parish jail and received credit for time served. The balance of his sentence was suspended. Additionally, he was placed on probation for a year and ordered to pay $500 in costs and perform community service for Habit for Humanity. Triplett also was ordered to pay a cash bond of $50,000 to be released to victim”s counsel.
LCSO Investigator Tony Cooper said the victim, in the Louisiana case, was not willing to return to court to testify, so the charges ultimately were dismissed.
Triplett now is being held at the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center; bond has not been set.
Morris, a part-time Mississippi State University student and employee of The Cookie Store in Leigh Mall, has been missing since Sept. 17, when she was last seen by Triplett, who said she left the home he shared with Morris” mother, Bonnie Morris Triplett, in a dark-colored van or sport utility vehicle, with an unknown person or people.
Morris” mother was vacationing in Florida at the time.
Robert Triplett was arrested following a prayer service for Morris Saturday. Volunteers had searched for Morris prior to the service.
LCSO officials said every computer in the Triplett home was seized after Morris” disappearance, and the explicit images on Robert Triplett”s computer were discovered during a scan by the Columbus Police Department”s forensic crime lab.
“We”re still working on it,” Cooper said this morning of the investigation. “We”ve got a lot more computers to go through. We”re still getting computers turned in to us. We”ve got other family members bringing us computers. He accessed other computers when we got theirs (and) now we”re searching them to see what he did on theirs.”
Cooper earlier said investigators are looking at “everybody and every possible thing” in the Morris investigation.
“There”s no evidence to lead us to believe that if something happened to (Morris), that (Robert Triplett) was the one,” Cooper said Monday.
Dispatch writer Jason Browne contributed to this report.