Former Sorrento Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr. pleaded not guilty Tuesday to child pornography and aggravated animal cruelty charges, but his lawyers reserved the right to change the plea to not guilty by reason of insanity, prosecutors said.
He also pleaded not guilty to a single obstruction count that was the result of a state child pornography investigation last year, prosecutors said.
Assistant District Attorney Robin O’Bannon, who is prosecuting the case, said Longanecker entered his initial plea to the charges during a brief arraignment Tuesday at the Ascension Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales.
Longanecker’s defense attorney, Tim Pujol, told the court that he was reserving the right to change Longanecker’s plea to not guilty by reason of insanity but is waiting on additional records first, O’Bannon said.
Twenty-third Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin said that announcement came as a surprise to prosecutors.
Pujol declined comment Tuesday by email.
O’Bannon said she filed the charges against Longanecker Friday in a bill of information.
Longanecker, 42, faces 42 counts of possession of child pornography, seven counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and one count of obstruction of justice, according to court filings.
Longanecker was arrested Oct. 23 after the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and other law enforcement agencies searched his Main Street home as part of a state Cyber Crime Unit investigation and found child pornography videos on his electronic equipment.
Later forensic analysis turned up videos and images of cat torture and abuse on those electronic devices as well, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Longanecker, who has remained in Ascension Parish Prison near Donaldsonville, was arrested again Dec. 29 on the animal cruelty charges.
Longanecker was mayor from mid-2011 to mid-2013 and previously was a town councilman.
The next motion date in his case is Feb. 20.
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