A convicted child molester was sent back to prison following the revocation of his probation in Jones County Superior Court.
Clayton Hubert Pender was in court Aug. 9, facing his third probation violation. He pled guilty Aug. 20, 2009, to six counts of child molestation and received a sentence of 15 years. The end date of his sentence is March 27, 2023.
He was back in court, charged with the violation of the Georgia Sex Offender Registry, moving without permission, and breaking curfew.
Chief Superior Court Judge William Prior heard the case and, after hearing all the evidence, did not hesitate in pronouncing his sentence.
“The case depends on the credibility of witnesses. I didn’t believe your testimony, and I revoke your probation,” Prior stated.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ashley Herndon. The state’s evidence consisted of five witnesses. Three of them were probation officers who had supervised Pender. The first witness was the probationer’s intake officer, and the next two supervised him while he lived in Dublin.
The Dublin officers stated that they had contact with Pender at his residence once, April 3, and were not able to make contact with him after that. After several attempts, Pender’s probation was transferred back to Jones County.
Jones County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Clay Wiggins, who handles Jones County’s Sexual Offender Registry, and Deputy Barron Hall, the officer who arrested Pender, were also called as witnesses.
Hall testified that he had been looking for Pender for three months before receiving a tip about his location at a house on Old Highway 57. The deputy said he found the probationer June 20 and placed him under arrest.
Pender was represented by public defender Sherri Smith. In her crossexamination of Hall, she asked him how he located Pender.
The deputy said he found him in a back bedroom of the house.
“What was he doing?” Smith asked.
“Hiding,” Hall replied.
The defense called Pender’s father, whose home he lived in while in Dublin, and the defendant also testified.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Pender has been in prison six times with his most recent release date Nov. 23, 2015. In addition to the child molestation charges, he has served time for drugs, DUI, and possession of a firearm.