FORT MYERS, Florida -- A couple accused of producing child pornography with a 4-year-old Polk County girl was supposed to stand trial starting Monday, but the case has now been delayed until next month.
The court found "that the ends of justice serviced by granting such a continuance outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial," so a new date has been set for May 6 with a plea cutoff date of May 1.
The case against Jennifer Sparks and Alan Johnson began last year, when a cell phone was found left behind in a Walmart shopping cart in Cape Coral. Court documents say someone found the phone, was able to access it without a password, and found photos and videos of child porn while trying to identify the phone's owner.
It was then turned over to investigators, who got a search warrant for Sparks' and Johnson's Fort Myers home. A federal indictment was handed down soon after.
DATABASE: Look up sex offenders in your neighborhood
The victim was a 4-year-old girl, who investigators later found in Polk County staying with an unidentified guardian. In an interview with investigators, the girl's mother said she indirectly knew Sparks, who is a mother herself.
An incident report from the Polk County Sheriff's Office says the couple had "begged" the girl's mother for months to let her stay in Ft. Myers with them. They picked the girl up in Orlando, where it's believed she lived, and she stayed with Sparks and Johnson for three weeks.
In a phone conversation, according to court documents, the girl told her mom she had "six boyfriends," who were all children. Sparks told the mother they were just "neighborhood kids."
While the girl stayed with the couple, the mother says Johnson asked the mother for help with his adult toy website. She claims she started getting suspicious when, after three weeks, the couple said they couldn't bring the girl back to Orlando because of a problem with their van's brakes.
The mother told investigators that in the months before her daughter went to Ft. Myers, she had heard that Johnson had child porn on his laptop, but that Sparks told her it wasn't true. It turns out that Johnson had been convicted on counts of possession of child pornography in 2003 and had only been recently released from prison at the time the alleged abuse occurred.
He is registered as a Sexual Offender, and can be found by typing information into the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Offender Search.