Saturday, September 22, 2012

Feds: Spruce Creek Fly-In gun dealer shows no remorse for having child porn

A former gun distributor and firearms consultant from California, Bruce Jennings was sued by a man injured by a gun when he was a child. When asked how much child pornography he had, he answered, "A lot."

By Lyda Longa

A 63-year-old Volusia man accused by the federal government of possessing and distributing child pornography told agents that he did not feel guilty about downloading and looking at such images, a federal complaint released by the U.S. Attorney's Office shows.

A former gun distributor and firearms consultant from California, Bruce Jennings was sued by a man injured by a gun when he was a child. When asked how much child pornography he had, he answered, "A lot."

Bruce Lee Jennings, who lives in the Spruce Creek Fly-In even had a computer hidden in his Chrysler Sebring loaded with hundreds of images and movies of children engaged in sexual acts, said the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who authored the complaint.

A former gun distributor and firearms consultant from California, Jennings was sued by a man injured by a gun when he was a child.

Brandon Maxfield, 25, of Willits, Calif., was injured at the age of 7 by a gun that misfired when it was being cleaned by Maxfield's babysitter. The weapon had been distributed by Jennings and manufactured by the company Jennings operated in California and Nevada called Bryco Arms.

Shot in the face, Maxfield was left paralyzed from the neck down; he sued Jennings and Bryco in 2001, court records show.

In the current criminal case, Jennings told ICE agent Joseph Grey that he had been looking at child pornography for at least five years and that he was aware that the children he was viewing were "real children who had been sexually abused," the complaint says. When Grey asked Jennings how much child pornography he possessed, the suspect answered, "A lot," the complaint says.

Jennings then told Agent Grey that he had a laptop computer hidden in his Chrysler. When ICE investigators searched the car, they found the laptop which contained hundreds of images and movies, the complaint shows.

Jennings was arrested Sept. 14 at his Spruce Creek Fly-In house on Spruce Creek Boulevard. He is being held without bail at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford because he is considered a flight risk, federal officials said.

If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison for each count of distribution of child pornography, said Will Daniels, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office. The maximum he could face is 20 years, Daniels said.

Jennings is also looking at a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

In the gun case, Jennings' company manufactured firearms in the early 1990s in California and Nevada commonly known as "Saturday Night Specials," court records show. In his lawsuit, Maxfield claimed that the gun that injured him and was designed by Jennings was defective.

Soon after Maxfield and his family filed the suit against Jennings in California Superior Court, Jennings met with a bankruptcy attorney in Boca Raton in 2002, court records show. That same year, he also put in an offer to purchase his Spruce Creek Fly-In residence for $925,000. After he obtained the house, he spent $84,000 to refurbish it, court records show.

In addition, Jennings wanted to expand the airplane hangar next to his house and he paid a contractor $130,000 in advance of the work being done, court records show.

On May 13, 2003, after hearing the case against Jennings and Bryco in three different phases, the California court entered a judgment against Jennings for $24 million. The day after the judgment — May 14 — Jennings and Bryco filed for bankruptcy, court records show.

Jennings then appealed the California court's decision on the Maxfield lawsuit. But the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, affirmed the California court's decision, saying in part that Jennings had paid the contractor $130,000 with the intent to defraud his creditors (Maxfield), court records show. The Court of Appeals said the $130,000 "greatly exceeded the amount then due under the contract."

Then in 2004, Maxfield himself tried to buy the Bryco Arms company at auction for $505,000. His plan was to melt all the weapons and turn them into a sculpture. Maxfield was outbid however by a Bryco employee who paid $510,000 for the company, court records show.

Brandon's Arms — a nonprofit corporation — was then founded to promote public safety with an emphasis on reducing and eliminating injuries and deaths from the accidental or criminal use of firearms.

According to the group's website, Maxfield — who could not be reached for comment — has yet to be compensated by Jennings for his injuries and medical bills.

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