Two sentenced for sex offender violations

Lester Craft – Picture courtesy of the Office of District Attorney David Learner

PRESS RELEASE

Lester Leon Craft, 59, of Hickory, was found guilty of failing to comply with sex offender registration guidelines by a jury during Catawba County Superior Court last week.

Craft also admitted his habitual felon status, enhancing the sentence that he was given by the Honorable Forrest D. Bridges, Superior Court Judge from Cleveland County, on Aug. 2, 2017.

Judge Bridges sentenced Craft to a prison term of six to eight years. That period of incarceration will be served in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections (DAC).

Craft’s sentence was enhanced by his habitual felon status, which includes prior felony convictions for breaking and entering in Catawba County (March 1990), possession of stolen goods in Catawba County (January 1999) and breaking and entering in Iredell County (August 2003). This is his second stint serving prison time as a habitual felon.

When Craft was released from DAC custody in March 2016, he registered an address with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office as he was required to do. However, he never lived at the address he gave. He was afforded opportunities to correct the issue but did not and was arrested for providing false information regarding his sex offender registration.

Darren Lackey handled the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Van Buren prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office.

Dexter Surratt – Picture courtesy of the Office of District Attorney David Learner

PRESS RELEASE

Dexter Leon Surratt, 40, of Hickory, was found guilty of failing to register as a sex offender and of his status as a habitual felon by a jury of his peers during Catawba County Superior Court 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 custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections on Aug. 3, 2017.

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.

These press releases appear as received from the Office of District Attorney David Learner with the exception of  page/text/space/paragraph/general formatting details.  Picture placement also excluded.  All pictures included with original release may not be shown here.  Separate reports contained within the same press release may have also been removed.  Additionally, the different pieces of the press release may have been re-arranged.  Article title and picture captions are not part of the press release.  This information does, however, reflect the information received from the Office of District Attorney David Learner.

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