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Libby man sentenced for failure to register

by Benjamin Kibbey Western News
| July 19, 2019 4:00 AM

A Libby man was sentenced in Montana 19th Judicial District Court on June 24 after he pleaded guilty for failing to register as a sexual offender.

Willie James Frye, 51 years old, was sentenced by Judge Matt Cuffe to five years with the Montana Department of Corrections, with credit for time served for the felony charge of failure to register. The court also recommended Frye be screened for a treatment program.

Frye also was sentenced to five years with MDOC — running concurrent to the other sentence — in relation to a probation violation.

Fry was first charged with failure to register in March 2017

On March 2, 2017, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective Dave Hall reported conducting compliance checks on registered offenders. He was working with Montana Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Roger Johnson.

According to Hall’s affidavit, Frye had registered in September 2015 in Lincoln County in reference to a conviction out of South Carolina for criminal sexual conduct, second degree, with a 17-year-old girl.

At Frye’s registered address, Hall and Johnson encountered a woman who said Frye was the previous tenant. The landlord told law enforcement that she did not know where Frye had gone after leaving with his girlfriend, who was the individual renting the trailer.

Hall made contact with the son of Frye’s former girlfriend, and was told that the son had dropped Frye off at a different trailer park in November 2016.

On March 7, 2017, Hall reported that he and Johnson attempted to locate Frye at the trailer where he had been dropped off. The residents knew Frye, but he was not at the residence at that time, and Hall requested a warrant be issued for Frye.

Frye pleaded guilty on July 24, 2017, to failure to register, but delays in getting a sexual offender evaluation for Frye pushed his sentencing to Dec. 18, 2017, when he failed to appear.

Finally, on March 5, Frye was sentenced to five years suspended with the DOC, and credit for time served.

In May, Frye was brought up once again for failure to register.

According to another affidavit by Hall, on May 5, Lincoln County Probation Officer Darrell Vanderhoef contacted him to notify Hall he believed Frye was in violation of the conditions of his release.

On May 7, Vanderhoef and Hall made contact with the manager of the trailer park Frye had registered as his address. The manager told them Frye had been living with someone who was evicted three months prior.

When Hall interviewed Frye, Frye admitted to failing to update the Sheriff’s Office with his address change. “Frye told me he did not do this because he was also not reporting to Vanderhoef as well,” Hall’s affidavit reads.

Frye signed a plea agreement with the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office on May 20, and Cuffe followed the recommendations of the plea agreement in the sentencing.