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September 25, 2012

Defendant's death brings sex offender case to a close

— Alleged attempted suicide victim and convicted Cooke County sex offender Michael Charles Conner, 35, succumbed to his wounds late Friday in a Plano hospital.

The death followed an incident early Wednesday morning where Conner allegedly shot himself in the head in a Denton residence. He survived and was transported to a Plano hospital.

The incident rendered him absent during proceedings in the 235th District Court, where he faced a 10-year sentence for his failure to meet sex offender registration requirements. His death brings proceedings to a halt, and Cooke County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Decker said by the end of the week, she will submit a case dismissal motion to presiding judge Sharen Wilson.

“Obviously the police are investigating a suicide,” Decker said. “Beyond that, I cannot comment.”

But even after Conner allegedly tried to kill himself, he was destined for a long prison term if he had survived. In November 2010, the convicted sex offender reportedly failed to notify Gainesville authorities of his move to Denton.

This counted as a third-degree felony, and he faced a sentence between two and 10 years. Decker said Conner finally received the longest sentence possible due to a “character assessment” — a consideration of his history of sex crimes that began in 1997. During that year, he kidnapped a young woman and received only probation. The kidnapping, Decker explained Thursday, was sexual in motive.

This led to counseling for Conner and attempts toward rehabilitation. But in 2000, he began a prison sentence of nearly seven years for the convicted rape of an 18-year-old woman in Cooke County. After his release in 2006, he resumed residence in the county and was ordered to register annually as a sex offender.

In early 2010, Decker said, Conner exposed himself to a female neighbor. Though the incident was reported, it was never brought to prosecution. However, it was a sizable factor in the 10-year prison sentence Conner received this past week shortly after attempting suicide.

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