U.S. District Judge Michael Truncale sentenced a Texas man to 480 months in federal prison on child exploitation charges related to a post on an undisclosed onion service.
Alexander Nathan Barter, 23, of Joaquin, Texas, was arrested in 2018 after he had posted on an undisclosed site on the darkweb about wanting to try to kill and eat t human. “I’d like to try necrophilia and cannibalism, and see how it feels to take a life. If you’d be willing to let me kill you, are in the US (preferably in the south), and can travel by car, contact me,” Barter wrote. The post caught the attention of an undercover law enforcement officer.
Law enforcement, posing as the father of a 13-year-old girl, contacted Barter. The undercover LE told Barter that he would like to offer his daughter to Barter. Between October 9, 2018, and October 19, 2018, Barter and the undercover officer exchanged a series of messages. In the messages, Barter repeatedly expressed his interest in raping, killing, and eating the 13-year old child.
Barter told the undercover law enforcement officer his plans for murdering the officer’s daughter. He told the officer to meet him at a certain location in a different state. He also told the undercover agent to purchase a burner phone and new clothes to wear after the murder.
On October 19, 2018, Barter arrived at the agreed-upon meeting point in Joaquin, Texas. Law enforcement arrested him upon arrival. The arresting officers reportedly found a knife, a trash bag, a cellular phone, and a tablet on him.
U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox:
“As this chilling case demonstrates, online talk is not always just talk. The constant vigilance of our law enforcement partners has prevented an evildoer from finding a like-minded accomplice and bringing his grisly plan to fruition. This case is a sobering reminder of how the brave men and women of law enforcement face down the worst of the worst in the scariest of scenarios.”
On December 20, 2019, Barter pleaded guilty to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and distribution of child pornography before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin. Barter agreed to be sentenced to 240 months in prison for each count. His defense asked the court to sentence him to a total of 20 years in prison but the prosecution asked that he be sentenced to 40 years in prison.
On September 17, 2020, Judge Truncale sided with the prosecution and sentenced Barter to 40 years in prison. He also sentenced him to a lifetime of supervised release.