Man pleads guilty in Jones Co. court on fondling charge
JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A man is set for deportation after pleading guilty to fondling a child in Jones County.
According to court documents, Diego Morales Ruiz changed his pea from “not guilty” to “guilty” for the charge of fondling in the Second Judicial District of Jones County in Laurel on Sept. 22. This follows a mistrial in August.
In 2020, Ruiz was accused of sexually abusing a minor under the age of 16.
According to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, Ruiz was originally charged with molestation-touching a child for lustful purposes.
Ruiz was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Dal Williamson to serve five years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections with 716 days to serve in the full-time custody of MDOC with credit given for time served.
The defendant reportedly had been incarcerated for 716 days and believes that time should go towards his sentence.
The remainder of Ruiz’s sentence was ordered to be suspended on the condition he successfully completes three years of probation and the successful completion of the Circuit Court Community Service Program.
He was also ordered to register in the sex offender registry wherever he resides in the United States. According to the Jones County District Attorney’s Office, registering as a sex offender would constitute Ruiz’s deportation to Mexico.
Court documents say the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be notified of the defendant’s conviction for the purposes of deportation procedures. If he is not departed within three months, the defendant will begin his community service obligations.
Ruiz is also ordered to pay a total of $927.50 after he is placed on any type of intensive supervision program.
“We believe that the decision reached was in the best interest of all parties involved and that given the circumstances this is a good resolution,” said Jones County District Attorney Brad Thompson in a statement.
It is unclear if Ruiz is now in ICE custody or has already been deported to Mexico.
This story will be updated if more information is provided.
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