Habitual Sex Offender Could Spend Life in Prison After Pleading Guilty to Third Offense
70 year-old habitual sexual offender William Suthers of Missoula learned on Friday that he could very likely be spending the rest of his life in prison.
Suthers was originally convicted of the sexual assault of an eight year-old girl in East Missoula in 1998, and was then jailed after violating his probation when he showed up at an Easter Egg Hunt in 2011 which was attended by his first victim, who was there with her own children.
While on probation for that charge, Judge Larson said Suthers was arrested yet again in 2014 for yet another sex crime involving a child.
“The alleged violation is that on or about 16 November, 2014 in Missoula County, you were involved in unlawful behavior. You were not conducting yourself as a good citizen when you had sexual contact with your five year-old female relative, is that true?,” Judge Larson asked.
Suthers, manacled hand and foot whispered into the microphone at the defense table, “Yes”.
Suthers, brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, lost his balance and fell while attempting to walk to the defense table. He was treated by jail and court personnel for minor cuts and abrasions before Judge Larson began the hearing.
Suthers, through his attorney, Kathleen Foley, agreed to plead guilty to the latest charge and Judge Larson reminded Suthers that he could impose consecutive sentences on all the offenses, with the maximum being life in prison. Judge Larson ordered Suthers to undergo a sentencing evaluation along with a hearing to evaluate his sexual offender level.
The final sentencing hearing will be on November 12 at 2:00 p.m. in Missoula District Court.
Suthers was placed back in a wheelchair and returned to the Missoula County Jail, where he has been held since last November on $250,000 bond.