GRAND FORKS (AP) - A Grand Forks Air Force Base airman who was found dead in his apartment in this city was facing a federal trial on child pornography charges.
Mark Massucco, 38, was found dead in his home Monday night, police records show. He apparently killed himself, a federal prosecutor said. Police said an autopsy was planned.
Court documents show that Massucco was indicted June 6 in U.S. District Court on two counts of receiving materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors and one count of possessing materials involving the sexual exploitation of minors.
He was scheduled for trial Dec. 11 in Fargo. Court documents show that Massucco was living under conditions of home confinement, including wearing an electronic monitoring device, while awaiting trial.
Court records say an investigation earlier this year by a Minneapolis police officer looking into crimes against children led authorities to Massucco, a sergeant with the 319th Air Refueling Wing.
David Dusek, one of the attorneys for Massucco in the case, declined comment.
The federal prosecutor in the case said he was saddened by the news of Massucco's death.
"We had been negotiating with him, trying to reach a plea agreement, and I thought we were making progress," Assistant U.S. Attorney Clare Hochhalter said.
Massucco would have faced at least five years in prison had he been convicted or pleaded guilty, Hochhalter said.
Court documents say Massucco initially confessed to possessing child porn but later said the confession was coerced and asked his statement to be suppressed. A judge had not yet ruled on the request. Federal officials filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss all charges.
Grand Forks Air Force Base officials have not commented on the death other than to say they are saddened by it. Tech Sgt. Joseph Kapinos said the death remains under investigation and declined to release details.