An attorney for a man accused of child sex crimes said his client was found dead on Friday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
James A. Mills, 71, was accused of sexually exploiting children, and was scheduled to be in federal court on Friday for an arraignment hearing. Mills’ attorney said a plea deal was possible as part of the hearing.
According to Gahanna Police Lt. Tom Basso, a friend went to the home, located in the 200 block of Flint Ridge Drive in Gahanna, on Friday morning to check on the homeowner and found a body in the backyard.
Police would not confirm whether the body was Mills, but his attorney told 10TV that it was his client.
Police did say that the person who died was killed by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No foul play is suspected.
"I think the neighborhood will be relieved that the activity that was taking place is not taking place anymore,” said Holly Sharp, who lives three houses down from Mills’ home.
Sharp and other neighbors told 10TV Mills' home had been a hub of illegal activity. They say that activity had a noticeable drop-off after authorities arrested Mills twice last year.
Mills was arrested in September and then again in November on child sex charges.
According to Gahanna officials, Mills was arrested on Nov. 16 by Gahanna police on behalf of Homeland Security Investigations.
Mills faced federal charges in connection with child pornography.
Gahanna officials said that the arrest warrant in November alleged that Mills knowingly persuaded or coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing pornography that has traveled across interstate or national boundaries.
Police told 10TV News in September that they received a complaint about Mills from males ages 21, 15 and 14.
The September warrant stated that the 21-year-old told police that he witnessed Mills playing a naked game, like checkers, with a minor.
Mills previously was banned from the Boy Scouts from allegedly violating the organization's Youth Protection Policy.
Mills was slated to appear in the United States District Court at 10:15 on Friday.
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing coverage.
November 16, 2012: Man Accused Of Playing Naked Games With Boys Now Faces Federal Charges
October 3, 2012: Man Accused Of Playing Naked Games With Underage Boys Has History Of Inappropriate Behavior With Children
October 1, 2012: Man Accused Of Playing Naked Game With Minor Posts Bond, Returns Home
October 1, 2012: Prosecutors: Man Charged For Child Porn Played Naked Games With Minors, Was A Nudist
September 27, 2012: Police: Man Charged For Child Porn Had Cameras Installed Throughout Home, Lock On Bedroom Door