40-year-old Dexter Leon Surratt of Hickory, was found guilty of failing to register as a sex offender and of his status as an habitual felon by a Catawba County Superior Court jury last week. The Honorable Forrest D. Bridges, Superior Court Judge from Cleveland County, sentenced Surratt to a prison term of four to seven years in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections on August 3.
Surratt’s prison term was enhanced by his habitual felon status, which includes prior felony convictions for indecent liberties with a child in Catawba County (June 1994), possession of a controlled substance in prison in Bladen County (July 1997) and failure to register as a sex offender in Catawba County (April 2014).
The defendant was released from prison in July 2015 and had three days to register as a sex offender. He refused to fill out the proper paperwork and was taken into custody again. After opting to register appropriately as instructed to do by his probation officer and being released about two weeks later, Surratt gave the name of a local hotel but did not provide specific details.
Investigation into the matter showed that he never checked in at the hotel, nor had he properly registered with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. The probation officer issued a warrant for Surratt’s arrest for absconding, and the Sheriff’s Office sought him for failure to register.
Tommy Scarborough investigated the case for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Michael Van Buren handled prosecution for the State.