Crime

Homicide victim once indicted for failure to register as sex offender

The same day patrol officers found him fatally shot in the head, the Muscogee County Superior Court indicted Chad Aaron Herring of failure to register as a sex offender, according to court documents.

Wednesday's indictment came more than two years after 32-year-old Herring was arrested and charged with the offense. He was booked into the Muscogee County Jail on April 5, 2012, after he falsely reported that he lived on the 1500 block of 15th Avenue.

Herring's body was discovered around 11:47 p.m. Wednesday when officers investigated a Chevrolet Impala parked on Roosevelt Street near Brewer Elementary School, Columbus Police Lt. Consuelo Askew said Thursday morning. Askew said there was no evidence of other shots fired in the area and reported no damage to the vehicle.

Muscogee County Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley said Herring was pronounced dead at 12:26 a.m. He will be transported Friday for autopsy, Worley said.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's website, Herring was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child in Leon County, Fla., on Oct. 19, 2000. The charge covers a wide array of acts, including sexual battery against a minor under 16 years old and lewd acts performed in the presence of a minor.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website lists his last known address in Smiths, Ala.

A Leon County State Attorney's Office employee said the charge originated in May 7, 2000. Herring was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl inside the bedroom of an unspecified residence. The victim tried to leave the room but Herring forced her to stay, officials said. A witness inside the residence heard the victim tell Herring to stop during the incident.

Herring was sentenced to three years in prison and three years probation after his conviction, officials said.

In January 2009, Herring was charged with burglary and grand theft. He later was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in July 2009. Both charges were dropped due to lack of prosecution.

Officials say Herring was first charged with failure to register as a sex offender in 2011 due to an issue with his driver's license. He was sentenced to 270 days in prison, but was given credit for prior time served.

Herring's death marks the city's 21st homicide. Click here for a complete list of 2014 Muscogee County homicides.

No suspects have been developed in the case.

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