September 1, 2014

Mix-up nearly costs sex offender 5 years in prison

ANy conviction in this matter is a miscarriage of justice; the man followed the spirit of the law and police instructions.
9-1-2014 Virginia:

Although it may have seemed innocent enough, picking up his 13-yearold stepson from Salem Church Middle School on May 14 almost cost a county man five years in prison.

Joseph Patrick Runyon Sr.’s wife had just started a new job and when school officials called her to pick up her son from school early, she asked Runyon if he would pick the boy up.

Runyon agreed, and in the process of checking in with office personnel at Salem Church Middle School, they discovered he was on the State Police Sex Offender Registry.

School officials then checked with Trooper Michael King, who coordinates the sex offender registry in Chesterfield. King confirmed that Runyon was a sex offender, but that he also had permission to go on property where his son attends school. King couldn’t recall which school, but instructed Salem Church Middle School officials to allow Runyon to take his stepson home.

On further investigation, however, it was determined that Runyon had permission to enter Bellwood Elementary School, not Salem Church Middle. Runyon was then arrested by Chesterfield Police on a felony charge of a sex offender being on school property.

Runyon, 37, of 2000 block of Willis Road, was scheduled to be tried on the charge last week in Chesterfield Circuit Court before Judge Frederick G. Rockwell III.

Moments before the trial was to begin, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Larry S. Hogan and defense attorney Denis C. Englisby came to terms on a plea agreement.

When Hogan recounted the facts in the case to the court, Judge Rockwell said there was a “substantive basis” for him to accept the plea agreement. Runyon agreed to an Alford plea, meaning that while he was not admitting guilt, he does acknowledge that if the case had gone to trial, county prosecutors would have had sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction. ..Source.. by Ben Orcutt

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