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Hernando man who fled to Samoa gets 15 years on sex charges

BROOKSVILLE — From Brooksville to Miami to Samoa to Los Angeles and back, Guy Osman Gould Jr.'s more than 14,000-mile journey ended Friday morning in Hernando County Circuit Court with a guilty plea and a 15-year prison sentence.

Convicted of sexual battery and molestation on two teenage boys from late 2009 to early 2010, Gould would be 81 years old when he's released if he serves the full term. He was also sentenced to 15 years of sex offender probation.

A crowded courtroom hushed as prosecutor Brian Trehy described the graphic nature of Gould's crimes. The 66-year-old, his skin wrinkled and slight frame hunched forward, did not address the court, only answering questions posed by Circuit Judge Daniel Merritt Jr.

When asked by the judge if he signed the plea agreement voluntarily, Gould responded, "I certainly did."

His attorney, Peyton Hyslop, said he was satisfied with the result.

"At 66, a 15-year sentence may be tantamount to a life sentence," Hyslop said, "but it at least gives him a chance to get out."

The agreement, Hyslop said, also spares the two victims from having to testify at trial.

"I think it is a fair resolution," said Trehy. "It was going to be very difficult for the victims to testify."

Gould, Trehy said, would likely pose little threat to anyone else by the time of his proposed release.

"I think at that age, with supervision, I think it would be highly unlikely that he would hurt anybody."

Gould was first arrested a year ago when authorities accused him of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old four times and with a 15-year-old once. Gould, authorities said, admitted to the crimes in an interview with them.

In August, Hyslop met with Trehy to see if an ankle monitor could be removed to alleviate the open sores developing on Gould's skin. The request was granted.

He was scheduled for a hearing on Sept. 3, but never showed up. Neighbors told Brooksville Police they had seen him on Aug. 27 carrying a small bag and leaving his mobile home on Daffodil Drive with a man in an older model blue car.

Gould, authorities later discovered, had sold many of his belongings, purchased a round-trip plane ticket to Samoa through a local travel agency and reserved a hotel room for a two-week stay in the South Pacific island's capital city of Apia.

He left the United States on Aug. 31, four days before the scheduled hearing. He entered Samoa on a 30-day tourist visa, subsequently extended to 60 days.

Samoa doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States, and authorities said Gould knew that.

Special agents from the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, acting on a tip received at the U.S. Embassy in Samoa, located Gould and notified Samoan authorities about the case.

After learning of his criminal charges in Florida, Samoan police tracked and arrested Gould, and the government deported him.

In late September, U.S. marshals arrested Gould as he exited a flight in Los Angeles, and he was soon after brought back to Hernando County.

John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or jcox@sptimes.com.

Hernando man who fled to Samoa gets 15 years on sex charges 02/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2011 7:26pm]
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