A Forsyth County man received a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison following a guilty plea in a sex offense case. 37-year-old Jamie Walter Merritt of Tobaccoville, N.C., was sentenced to serve an active prison term of 20 to 25 years following his conviction for three counts of first-degree statutory sex offense during Catawba County Superior Court on Tuesday (January 15).
The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, imposed the sentence for Merritt, who will serve the term in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections after pleading guilty to the offenses.
The defendant’s sentence will run concurrent with a 12-year prison term he is serving for a similar conviction in 2016 from Davie County, extending it by eight years. In addition, Merritt will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life and is subject to lifetime satellite-based monitoring.
Investigation of the offenses began in 2015 when Merritt reported his activity to investigators with Claremont Police Department. The investigation showed that Merritt and a female co-defendant used Benadryl to drug a then-10-year-old female victim and touch her inappropriately. Merritt also admitted that he engaged in oral sex with the child. The events occurred on three occasions in September 2010.
The co-defendant’s case is pending.