On Saturday, Bleeding Cool reported that comic book creator Gerard Jones was to change his plea from not guilty to guilty on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. As part of a deposition against the prosecution's call for a Motion for Mandatory Remand, in which the accused is imprisoned on remand between being found guilty and a sentence being decided by the judge, the defense included considerable testimony from a psychologist, psychiatrist, and programme experts, citing a very low chance of recidivism or abscondment.
These included letters of support against incarceration and in support of his good character, from religious leaders, businessmen, teachers, veterans, and writers — including comic creators Will Jacobs, Mark Badger, James Hudnall, and Mike W. Barr. These letters were written last year, shortly after he was arrested and while he was still pleading innocence.
There have been a few questions about the nature of the letters, especially from comic creators. In a number of comments under the original Bleeding Cool article, James Hudnall posted to say:
"I wrote that letter because, while I have never been a close friend of his, I have known and worked with Gerry for 30 years. We worked together at Viz and Malibu. He has never seemed weird or into kids to me. So that's what I said, basically. It's a real shame because he always seemed like a decent guy who loved comics. A real shame.
It may be hard for people to understand, but Gerry is nice guy, not creepy at all. Not someone you would think is like that. It was a real shock to many of us, but I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt unless they set off red flags. I have never seen him act raunchy or weird. He is very well mannered.
The whole thing is bizarre. He did tell someone I know that he was hacked and his computer was used as a server without his knowledge. That could be true. It would explain why he did something as stupid as posting porn on YouTube. He is not a dumb guy. All I know is it's a very sad state of affairs.
The presumption of innocence is a civil right. If he was shady in any way, I wouldn't have written that letter. But all the letter said is I have known him for 30 years and never saw him do anything that would make him look suspicious. I didn't lay on compliments or anything. It was fairly neutral but I have worked with the guy and have known him since we were both in our 20s. If I think they deserve it, I try to help out a friend.
Think of that what you will. If he is really guilty then the stain of this will ruin his life. I feel sorry for him.
Even if he's innocent, he's screwed. No one will trust him. It's easier for you to judge Gerry because you don't know him. If he really got off on that stuff, it sickens me, but it also makes me wonder whether he was abused as many abusers were. It's hard to explain, but the whole thing feels surreal to those of us who know him."
Since there has been some doubt, Bleeding Cool is running the letters from comic creating colleagues and peers below, in full.