State prosecutors announce indictment of Georgia man on computer-crime charges
by Eddie Burkhalter
eburkhalter@annistonstar.com
Nov 14, 2013 | 5223 views |  0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thomas Jack Hixon
Thomas Jack Hixon
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State prosecutors Thursday announced the grand jury indictment of a Georgia man who they say attempted to illegally access the National Crime Information Database through a state-controlled website.

Thomas Jack Hixon, 19, of Chickamauga, Ga., turned himself in at the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday morning. The indictment states Hixon is charged with computer tampering and seeking to obtain criminal offender records by false pretense. He was released on a $50,000 bond shortly after his arrest, according to an official at the Calhoun County Jail.

The charges are a violation of the Alabama Digital Crime Act, according to a press release by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.

Hixon was indicted by a Calhoun County grand jury Oct. 31, according to the release.

The indictment alleges Hixon attempted to obtain criminal offender records in the National Crime Information Center database through the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center website by saying his request was for “official law enforcement or criminal justice purposes.”

The indictment does not state when the attempted computer breach occurred, or whether any information was compromised as a result.

Reached through press staff Thursday, Maury Mitchell, director of the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, declined to comment further on Hixon’s charges.

Reached by phone Thursday, Pete Smyczek, an assistant attorney general, declined to comment on the case. He referred questions to the attorney general’s press staff, who later issued the release.

Although officials would not comment on the specifics of the case, Alabama law states such cases can be tried in the county in which the victimized computer or computer system, or the computer used in the attack, is located. The law also states the case can be tried in the county in which an authorized computer user was denied service or had their service interrupted due to the computer attack.

A warrant for Hixon’s arrest was issued Nov. 5, according to his arrest report from the Sheriff’s Office.

Hixon is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment Dec. 19.

If convicted on the felony charge of computer tampering, Hixon could face up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000, according to the release. Hixon could face up to five years of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000 on the charge of attempting to obtain criminal offender records information, the release says.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.

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