RICHMOND, Va. -- For roughly 30 minutes, 28-year-old Troy George Skinner stood before a U.S. District Court judge in Richmond on Thursday, answering a series of questions before pleading guilty to one count of producing child pornography.
The charge stems back to 2018 when he coerced a 13-year-old girl who he met online to take sexually explicit images. When the teen ended the relationship, the man flew from his home in New Zealand to her home in Goochland County.
He attempted to break into her home but was stopped when the girl's mother shot him in the neck.
When he was arrested, deputies found that he had duct tape, pepper spray and a folding knife.
He initially faced 11 charges, including two attempted abduction charges, but CBS 6 Legal Analyst Todd Stone says it's pretty routine to see a number of charges dropped for a guilty plea at the federal level.
"In the federal system, somebody gets sentenced on the most severe charge that they've been found guilty of," Stone said.
Skinner faces between 15 and 30 years for that one count, but no set amount was agreed to.
"That means that they will have a sentencing hearing, where each side has the ability to put on witnesses, and the judge will make a decision," Stone said.
However, both parties said they reserved the right to appeal that decision. The other caveat with this case is that it's a conditional plea.
"What that means is that the defendant wants to be able to avail himself to a guilty plea and the benefits of a guilty plea, but not give up the right to appeal a motion to suppress that's previously been denied," Stone said.
Stone said they will likely argue that Skinner's constitutional rights were violated at some point in the investigation and tried to block some evidence because of how it was gathered.
"And if he's successful, then it would be sent back to this court for the purposes of either a retrial or some further action," Stone said.
Skinner's attorneys said he had suffered a lot of trauma in his life and they would be discussing that more at the sentencing hearing and indicated it would take longer than normal. They also said they would include witnesses from New Zealand.
Sentencing for Skinner is set for February 11.