30 Oct 2018

NZ man Troy Skinner now facing US federal charges

8:41 am on 30 October 2018

The New Zealand man who was shot in the neck in the US after allegedly trying to break into the home of a teenage girl he met online is now facing federal charges.

Troy Skinner

Troy Skinner Photo: Supplied / Henrico Jail

Troy Skinner, 25, appeared in the Goochland County Court in Virginia this morning, facing armed burglary, with intent to commit rape.

County Sheriff James Agnew said the state charge against him had now been dropped, but he had since been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with several counts relating to the incident.

Mr Agnew said the 25-year-old would be processed out of the Henrico County Jail later today and custody would be transferred to the FBI.

He said the FBI had been working on the case from early on, but would not comment further.

Reporter Matt Demlein from radio station WRVA covered the court appearance and said the federal charges Mr Skinner is now facing are production of child pornography and coercion.

He said the fact the FBI had now taken over meant authorities were stepping up the case against him.

"The Feds don't normally take a case that they don't believe they can win and get something out of, so this probably means they're going to pursue him pretty heavily for allegedly coming to this area to meet up and potentially do harm to this girl".

It could be next year until there a decision on whether Mr Skinner is put on trial or whether his lawyers do a plea deal with prosecutors.

"My guess is we actually won't see a trial," he said. "The Feds tend to, with a lot of criminal cases, work to get guilty pleas as compared to going to trial."

If found guilty Mr Skinner could face a sentence of life imprisonment, but under the plea system penalties are sometimes reduced.

According to the police, Mr Skinner was shot at by the mother of the 14-year-old girl while trying to break into their house on 22 June.

Police found duct tape, a knife and pepper spray in his backpack.

He had flown from New Zealand to Los Angeles.

Mr Skinner will today be moved from the county jail into FBI custody.

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