Sex offender stages suicide to avoid court date

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A West Virginia man is accused of pretending to kill himself to avoid punishment for failing to register as a sex offender.

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Jesse Lee Wood allegedly tried to pretend he jumped from the Ravenswood Bridge into the Ohio River on Thursday morning, a day before he was set to face a judge. According to WCHS,

Police told the station that Wood parked his truck near the bridge overnight and emailed an acquaintance a suicide note detailing where his belongings could be found.

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The article said that when first responders arrived at the scene, they found his vehicle and his cell phone on the side of the bridge, which separates West Virginia and Ohio.

“When we got there we found what was originally considered a legitimate bridge jumper,” Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger said during a briefing on the incident. “We’ve had several here over the years and on the surface and by and large it didn’t look much different from what we had in the past.”

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Once police learned that Wood was to be sentenced the next day in circuit court in Jackson County, they checked his home and found him hidden in a cell, the sheriff said.

“We asked him directly, why in the world do you want people to believe that you want to commit suicide and jump off this bridge?” Mellinger said. “Their only response was ‘Because I wanted them to believe him.’ So, we have to believe whole heartedly at this point that it was directly impending court day.”

The police reportedly believed that Wood was planning to wait until the police had left, then go get his car and hit the road.

Officials said he was charged with misrepresenting an emergency report and sent to jail.

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