A registered sex offender caught hiding under a pile of blankets after he led two Washington County Sheriff's deputies on a high speed car chase pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to also lying about where he was living at the time.
Sony C. Love, 32, of 9550 State Route 550, Vincent, pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony count of failure to register a change of address. The charge carries a maximum 18-month prison penalty.
Love is currently incarcerated for a parole violation, noted Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.
He is out on parole for various charges from Monroe County, including the conviction that required him to register as a sex offender.
"On Jan. 24, 2005, in Monroe County, Mr. Love was convicted of a fifth-degree felony importuning charge requiring him to register as a sexually oriented offender," said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham.
Importuning consists of soliciting sexual acts from a juvenile. Love was also convicted of a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence in Monroe County and was released from a five-year prison sentence in June 2012.
As a registered sex offender Love is required to report a change of address immediately. However, deputies with the Washington County Sheriff's Office found Love had not been living at his specified address after they fingered him as the suspect in a dangerous high-speed pursuit in September and went looking for him.
According to an affidavit of facts from the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Love first sped up and began driving erratically when he encountered a deputy on County Road 333. He drove left of center and blew through a stop sign on Ohio 26, all the while pulling further away from the deputy.
The first deputy terminated pursuit for fear Love would cause an accident. A second deputy encountered the Jeep Cherokee on Caywood Road and also stopped pursuing Love because of his extreme speed.
Deputies identified Love by questioning witnesses at the trailer from which the Jeep had been seen leaving that evening.
Officers went looking for Love at 1020 Caywood Road, his registered address, said Graham.
"The owner seemed confused," she said.
The owner told deputies Love had not lived there for some time, but she allowed them to search the residence as Love's Jeep was parked out front.
"Sony was located in the basement of the home under some blankets," said the affidavit of facts.
Love denied being involved in the high speed pursuit at first, but offered to officers that he had not been living at his registered address for a week and a half. Instead his trailer was on Ohio 550, he told officers.
As a result, Love was charged with a fourth-degree felony count of failure to register.
He later admitted to fleeing from deputies as well, which he did while driving under suspension, and was sentenced in Marietta Municipal Court to 10 days in jail and a $150 fine for a second-degree misdemeanor charge of obstructing official business.
Burnworth scheduled Love's sentencing for April 8 on the current charge and continued his bond should he be released on the parole violation in the interim.