A North Carolina man accused of having child pornography when he was taken into custody in Boulder on out-of-state warrants had his trial pushed back at least two months due to the pandemic.
Kellen David Steckler, 22, pleaded not guilty in July to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child and was set for trial this week.
But jury trials in Boulder County have been suspended until at least February due to an increase in COVID case numbers across the state and the presence of the new omicron variant.
The suspension led Boulder District Judge Norma Sierra to issue a mistrial Tuesday and order a new trial date, over the objection of Steckler’s attorney.
Attorneys had trouble finding a new court date, with March 7 being identified as a possible trial date and July 18 the next possible trial setting.
Steckler, who appeared in person for Tuesday’s hearing, remains out of custody on a $2,000 bond.
Boulder police, while working with the U.S. Marshals Service, first arrested Steckler in August 2020 after authorities discovered he had ties to Boulder and might have been in the area, according to police. Steckler had warrants out of North Carolina for suspicion of indecent liberties with a child, soliciting a child by computer and disseminating obscenity to a minor under the age of 13 — all felonies.
After Steckler was taken into custody, Boulder detectives executed several search warrants for his electronic devices.
The release said detectives from the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office assigned to the Boulder County Computer Forensics Lab executed a search warrant on several phones and a computer that Steckler had in his possession.
During analysis of the devices, detectives located pictures and video files in the gallery of the device that were identified as child pornography.