Local man gets light sentence, fails to register as sex offender

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Pearl River County man who pleaded guilty to fondling a 7-year-old girl earlier this year was arrested Wednesday for failing to register as a sex offender.
According to the indictment, 53-year-old Gary Lynn Spear of Poplarville conducted the sexual acts between Nov. 1, and Nov. 26, 2013.
Spear would later enter a guilty plea on Feb. 28, of this year, at which time 15th Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell sentenced him to 15 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with 14 years suspended and one year to serve under house arrest, court documents state.
Fifteenth District Attorney Hal Kittrell said that when a person enters an open plea, the judge has control over the sentence given.
According to the terms of his sentence he was ordered to register as a convicted sex offender.
Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Marc Ogden said once someone is convicted of a sex crime, they are required to register with the Sheriff’s Department and the state within three days of being released. In Spear’s case, since he was put on house arrest, he was to do so when his sentence began.
Ogden said the registration process is to ensure a sex offender does not reside within 3,000 feet of a school, church, playground or other location where children would frequently be present.
The department became aware of his failure to register when investigators received an anonymous tip that Spears was not registered and could be found daily selling produce on the roadside in the Poplarville area.
Ogden said the investigators checked to see if Spear had complied with the terms of his sentence and registered as a sex offender.
“As of July 12, he had not registered,” Ogden said.
When they found he had not registered, investigators located him on Wednesday and arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. During his arrest, the investigators found a Bouie knife on his person, which was another violation of his conviction, leading to an additional offense of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, Ogden said.

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