A convicted sex offender who fled to the other side of the country pleaded guilty Thursday to an address-change violation.
Former Willard resident Mourice A. Hernandez, 34, most recently of Vacouver, Wash., will be sentenced on the fourth-degree felony and a related probation violation April 15. He is being held in the Huron County Jail without bond.
On March 4, the Huron County Sheriff's Office extradited Hernandez from the state of Washington and booked him into jail after he was on the run for 10 years. Through research conducted by civil employee Amy Cawrse, who monitors the sexual offenders' registration, it was determined Hernandez was living in Vancouver.
"We contacted the U.S. Marshal's Office and they contacted their assets in the state of Washington and arrested Hernandez," Sheriff Dane Howard said soon after the arrest.
The warrants on Hernandez were for failure to register as a sex offender and probation violation. The original conviction was for attempted gross sexual imposition with a juvenile.
The case dated back to April 27, 2004, when a grand jury indicted Hernandez on gross sexual imposition.
In mid-June 2004, he was credited with serving 122 days in jail and placed on five years of intensive probation. A judge ordered Hernandez to have no association with minors under the age of 18. Court records indicate the defendant was classified as a sexually-oriented offender and had to register his address for the next 10 years "with verification on each anniversary of the initial registration."
Prosecutors filed a probation violation Oct. 21, 2004 for Hernandez "absconding supervision," according to court records.
Howard said Hernandez indicated when he was arrested he had "expected this day to come for 10 years." The sheriff also said the unusual spelling of the defendant's first name, Mourice, made it easier to locate him in a database.
The sheriff's office contracted with an extradition company to have Hernandez transported back to Huron County. There was a grant program available where the HCSO can have the cost of the transport reimbursed through the Ohio Attorney General's Office.