BROOKSVILLE — A 48-year-old Brooksville man once listed as one of the county's most wanted fugitives received 15 years in prison Monday for a 14-month sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
Bill Eugene Plowman pleaded no contest to nine counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child the morning his trial was scheduled to start.
He faced a life sentence, but received the shorter prison term and five years of probation as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, who wanted to spare the victim, now 18, from testifying at trial.
Authorities began investigating Plowman, a truck driver, in early 2006 after the girl's mother reported finding several letters he wrote the girl in which he talked about having sex with her, arrest reports stated.
Investigators called Plowman on March 1, 2006, and asked him to come to the Sheriff's Office for an interview, but he refused and skipped town. He spent 19 months on the lam until his October 2007 arrest in Aripeka.
At trial, the girl was expected to tell a jury how Plowman sexually touched her in December 2005 when he visited her parents at their home. On Dec. 25, he entered her bedroom after her parents went to sleep and had sex with her, according to court documents.
The girl initially attempted to fight his advances, reports state, but later consented to the ongoing sexual relationship. The girl said Plowman would visit her parents often, become intoxicated and ask to spend the night. On numerous occasions, the girl said, he would then sneak into her room and they would have unprotected sex.
Another witness interviewed by authorities said the girl told her about the interactions with Plowman. The witness also said she read a letter the girl wrote in which the girl said she loved him and missed him, reports state.
After finding letters, the victim's mother confronted her daughter in February 2006.
She also found photographs on a digital camera of her daughter purportedly having sex with Plowman, reports state.
But the photographs showed no faces, and Plowman asserted it wasn't him.
Prosecutors planned to identify the man as Plowman by a scar on the right thigh of the man in the photograph. Plowman has a similar mark, but it is difficult to discern after he put a green four-leaf clover tattoo atop the scar.
Authorities contend he received the tattoo while on the lam. State and defense skin experts were expected to offer dueling opinions.
John Frank can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 754-6114.