A Dayton man on Wednesday was sentenced to four years in prison and will be labeled a Tier III sex offender for a sex crime against a child.
But Charles Owens, 19, who pleaded no contest and agreed with prosecutors to a sentence range of three to five years, said he wasn’t guilty when asked for comment by Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Tucker.
“I was innocent but I had no way to prove my innocence,” Owens told Tucker, who reiterated that Owens was found guilty and agreed to a plea deal to the amended charge of rape. Tucker gave Owens a chance to rescind his plea but Owens declined.
A grand jury had indicted Owens with one count apiece of rape of a 5-year-old boy and gross sexual imposition. Dayton police said Owens committed the crime just a few days after being released from a three-year term for auto theft-related offenses at a juvenile detention center in Tennessee.
Tucker said Owens will be credited with 409 days jail credit and will serve his sentence at Dayton’s Correctional Reception Center. Upon his release from incarceration, Owens must register his address every 90 days for life, pay court costs and serve five years post-release control.
There was no victim impact statement read in court, but assistant prosecutor Eric Michener told the judge that a letter was submitted into the record.
Owens’ mother, Debra Smith, wore a lime green T-shirt that had her son’s picture on the front and the words, “Don’t let lies take his life” on the back.
She said she told her son to take a plea deal so he didn’t face what she thought could have been a sentence of 15 years to life.
‘He’s falsely accused, wrongly convicted,” Smith said. “This happens every day all over the United States.”
Owens’ family said the family of the accuser has a mental disorder and that the victim is a liar who “does it for attention.”
Smith said all men are at risk of false accusations and unjust convictions and that Owens may appeal. Defense attorney Charles Wagner told Tucker that letters of support were provided to Tucker asking for leniency.
“We’ve got an application in to the Innocence Project to help us,” Smith said.
By Mark Gokavi - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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