Cedar City man sentenced to prison after police find 214 explicit videos and images on his phone2 min read

By Tracie Sullivan

A 5th District Court judge ordered a Cedar City man to prison last week after he was convicted for having explicit images and videos of children on his phone.

Judge Matthew Bell sentenced Colton Ross Hedges to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison on three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, all second-degree felonies. Each charge received the same sentence, but they will be served concurrently, allowing the defendant the possibility of parole before 15 years has passed.

Hedges has no prior criminal record, which influenced the sentencing recommendations in his final presentence report, which includes various information about a defendant including their family background, education and employment, Deputy County Attorney Trajan Evans said. This report aids the Court in determining what sentences to impose.

Hedges was initially charged with 10 counts of the same crime but seven of them were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the Iron County Attorney’s Office.

According to court records filed at the time of Hedges’ arrest, police began to investigate the defendant in August, 2023 following a report sent to them by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The report included 214 images and videos, approximately ten of which contained “explicit videos of prepubescent children” as young as three years old, according to the affidavit.

Iron County Attorney Chad Dotson said he believed the prison sentence was justified and is glad to see justice served.

“The prison sentence that was imposed was warranted. Because of the selfish and disturbing desires that Hedges, and so many others like him, children have the worst moments of their lives recorded and published on the internet,” Dotson said. “We are thankful that law enforcement and our investigatory tools are able to detect and apprehend those who prey on the most innocent subset of our population. The Iron County Attorney’s office will continue to pursue justice in these heartbreaking cases.”


Leave the first comment