CALDWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A registered sex offender was convicted Tuesday after he plead guilty to failing to notify deputies of an address change.
According to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, 48-year-old Steven James Merrell, previously lived in the 6800 block of Richlands Road in Lenoir. In 2016, deputies went to a find Merrell at his home on Richlands Road where he had been registered as a sex offender stemming from a 1996 conviction, according to the district attorney.
When deputies arrived, the homeowner told deputies that Merrell said he would be "much happier in Boone," according to court officials. During an investigation, detectives reportedly discovered that Merrell no longer lived at that address and had moved to Watauga County without notifying deputies, officials say.
Merrell was sentenced to eight to 11 years in prison, according to the DA.
The DA said Merrell's sentence was impacted by previously being convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child in Buncombe County in 1996 and failing to register as a sex offender in Buncombe and Watauga counties.