A Madison County man was sentenced Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 after pleading guilty to two charges relating to his setting up a cell phone to secretly record a female co-worker inside a workplace shower room.
June 15, 2023, Justin Cody Walls, 32, of Madison County, pled guilty to the Class C felony of attempted possession of child phonography and to the Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy (victim less than 18 years of age).
At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Circuit Judge Wendy Wexler-Horn (Missouri’s 24th Judicial Circuit) heard separate victim impact statements, one written by the victim and the other by the victim’s parents. Both were read by the victim’s mother. The court also heard three witnesses testify for Walls: a therapist Walls’ was being treated by; Walls’ current employer, and the pastor at the church Walls attended.
At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Judge Wexler-Horn sentenced Walls. For the felony (attempted possession of child phonography), Walls was sentenced to a five-year term in the Department of Corrections. That sentence was suspended and Walls was placed on probation for five years under the supervision of the State Board of Probation and Parole sex offender case load with special conditions that he maintain compliance with all requirements under Megan’s Law (Missouri Sexual Offender registration act) and SORNA; successfully complete all requirements of the Missouri Sexual Offender Program (MOSOP); have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family; successfully adhere to all conditions of release and or probation related to Count III (the Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy); pay restitution in the amount to be determined by the court; and any other conditions ordered by the court.
As to Count III, Judge Wexler-Horn sentenced Walls to serve 365 days in the Madison County Jail. The judge suspended the execution of that sentence on 185 days. Therefore, Walls will serve 180 days consecutively in the Madison County Jail beginning Aug. 17, 2023. The court also placed Walls on two years probation with conditions as follows: House arrest with the defendant on GPS monitoring for one year after release from the Madison County Jail limiting Walls’ freedom to being allowed to attend regular-scheduled employment; appointments for MOSOP, MOSORA, probation and counseling; child custody transfers at a specific place and time; meetings with legal counsel; appointments with medical practitioner; religious services.
The charges stem from an incident in 2022 and a subsequent Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) investigation.
According to a MSHP probable cause statement, on April 1, 2022, at 9:35 a.m., a trooper spoke with a man who said he wanted to report an incident which occurred at an agricultural business outside Fredericktown.
The man reportedly told police that on March 31, 2022, a 17-year-old female employee located a phone recording video of her while inside the shower room. The incident reportedly happened about 3:30 p.m. The man said the teenage employee had reviewed the video recording and observed Walls on the same video. The man told police the female had observed Walls at the beginning of the video “propping up” the cell phone, according to the statement.
During an interview with MSHP investigators, the report states that the female said she exited the shower and observed a cell phone on some clothes in a “cubby.” The teen said she realized the only employee working was Walls. The teen reportedly said she flipped the phone over and saw that it was recording her.
The female employee reportedly reviewed the video and saw she had been recorded exiting the shower nude with private areas exposed. The girl told investigators she observed Walls’ face on the video as he was setting up the cell phone to record. The teen reportedly deleted the footage from the cell phone and placed the device back in the cubby.