Originally created 07/14/06

Man is resentenced after court's ruling



A Martinez man will spend only six more months in jail for a statutory rape conviction after he was resentenced Thursday to his original one-year term.

The resentencing was necessary because the state court of appeals had vacated a harsher sentence imposed in December on William Archer Stulb.

"My hope today is that you will see the truth and see me as a changed person," Mr. Stulb, 21, told Judge Duncan Wheale on Thursday.

It was Judge Wheale who sentenced Mr. Stulb to four years in December, after changing his mind about a sentence he had imposed days earlier.

In September, a jury convicted Mr. Stulb of statutory rape for a 2003 incident in which he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. On Dec. 19, Judge Wheale sentenced Mr. Stulb to one year in a detention center followed by nine years' probation, 300 hours of community service, a $10,000 fine and registration as a sex offender.

But the judge changed his mind and scheduled a second hearing Dec. 29 in which he sentenced Mr. Stulb to four years in prison. Mr. Stulb has since been held in the Columbia County Detention Center.

The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled in May that the four-year sentence should be vacated because Mr. Stulb began paying his fine six days before the Dec. 29 hearing and met with his probation officer nine days before it.

"I think as you stand here today, you are sincere," Judge Wheale said Thursday. "... I think you've got a powerful message if it continues."

The appeals court order, as interpreted by Judge Wheale, required Mr. Stulb to be sentenced to the original one-year incarceration.

Judge Wheale amended the original sentence allowing Mr. Stulb to serve the more than six months remaining on his sentence in the Columbia County Detention Center. He also required Mr. Stulb to pay his fine directly to Child Enrichment Inc. and to spend his 300 hours of community service speaking to church and school youth groups.

Mr. Stulb will be required to register as a sex offender, though Judge Wheale said he will review the conditions of the sex offender registry and might not include all of those conditions in Mr. Stulb's sentence.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.