Man pleads guilty, gets 11-year term

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

At the last session of Circuit Court for the month of June, a Lewisburg man pleaded guilty to a sex crime and was sentenced to 11 years in prison by Judge Robert Crigler.

Mark J. Suchan, 47, of 634 4th Ave. N., pleaded guilty to possession of more than 25 images of "a minor or minors engaged in sexual activity" with the intention to "promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange" these images.

A search warrant was executed at Suchan's address on March 21 and two laptops, an external hard drive, two cell phones, and numerous CDs and DVDs were taken and handed over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI found numerous "sexually explicit videos (of)... what appears to be younger females."

According to the Statement of Facts in Support of Probable Cause prepared by TBI Special Agent Jason Wilkerson in requesting the search warrant, Suchan came to the attention of the Lewisburg Police Department in February, thanks to a confidential informant who works for the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force. The informant reported to detectives that Suchan had asked several times, starting as early as summer 2010, whether the informant knew someone who could provide a girl between nine and 12 years old for him to have sexual relations with.

"Suchan was very clear that he wanted the informant to arrange for him to have sex with a minor child in exchange for money," Wilkerson wrote. According to the TBI agent, only lack of money was restraining Suchan from attempting to purchase a child, and he told the informant he hoped to have enough money by summer.

Rather than watch and wait, law enforcement officials decided to move in on Suchan and he was initially arrested on warrants alleging solicitation of a minor. Subsequent examination of Suchan's computer led to the more serious charge to which he pleaded guilty.

Lewisburg Police Detective Sgt. David Henley, Detectives Scott Braden and James Johnson, and Sgt. Sam Barnes of the Maury County Sheriff's Office worked on the investigation with the TBI.

Suchan must serve 100 percent of his 11-year sentence because under state law prison terms sex crimes are not reduced for mitigating factors.

Also pleading guilty on June 22 was Joe Melvin Williams Jr., 42, of Petersburg. He was stopped in Cornersville about 3 a.m. May 22, 2010, by Officer Eli Stuard. According documents in his case file, when Stuard asked Williams to perform field sobriety tests, Williams said, "I couldn't do these tests if I was sober." Stuard further alleges that Williams admitted he'd had something to drink, but said, "he wasn't as drunk as his passenger was."

Williams pled guilty to fifth offence driving under the influence; third offence driving on a revoked license; and violation of the implied consent law.

He also pled guilty to failure to appear. Crigler sentenced Williams to two years on the DUI and two years on the failure to appear, to be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of two years at 35 percent, plus a $3,000 fine and loss of his driver's license for five years.

Williams is currently in the Lincoln County Jail, serving time on convictions for resisting arrest and reckless endangerment. In addition to these and his DUIs, Williams' record includes convictions for sexual battery, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.