Newspapers and television stations In Texas have been reporting on the trial of John Morgan Campbell, the former H-E-B executive who was instrumental in the development of its Central Market concept, who is charged with 53 counts of child pornography and is facing up to 600 years in prison if convicted.

According to the stories, Campbell reportedly accidentally attached a pornographic image of a young boy to a business-related email sent to an H-E-B co-worker back in 2014. That co-worker immediately reported it to both company executives and the police. Campbell was fired by H-E-B, and, according to the Dallas Morning News, “Texas Rangers seized Campbell's work devices and found 50 graphic images and three videos,” all of boys who appeared to be underage.

The San Antonio Express News notes that when Campbell, 66, was arrested, he allegedly told officers, “You got me,” and “This is what happens when you do stupid things.”

KC's View: This is so far beyond stupid that I don’t even know where to start. Even allowing for the fact that people are innocent until proven guilty, the news coverage suggests that the evidence is overwhelming, and that the defense isn’t denying the existence of the pics on Campbell’s computer - just trying to find legal reasons to mitigate the legal damage to his case.

It pains me to write this story. I know John Campbell. I’ve spent some time with him looking at stores, taking advantage of his insights. He took me to dinner once when I was in Austin. I found him to be extraordinarily knowledgeable, gifted in his understanding of retail, and extremely charming. I know people who have known him for a long time, people of strong moral character who must now be at an utter loss. It is difficult for me to reconcile the man I knew, if only a little bit, with the man whose portrait is being painted in deep, dark and disturbing colors in a Texas courtroom. I am, in a word, gobsmacked.