Rape sentence stands; offender must register

An appellate court decision reinstated an Augusta man's sentence for a 2005 statutory rape conviction and required him to register as a sex offender.

In May, Superior Court Judge Duncan Wheale rescinded the sentence he had imposed on William Archer Stulb, 24, in December 2005 after a jury found Mr. Stulb guilty of statutory rape.

Mr. Stulb, formerly of the 2800 block of Lombardy Court, had been sentenced to a year in jail followed by nine years' probation, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine. The law didn't require Mr. Stulb to register as a sex offender because of his age at the time of the offense. When the law changed in 2006, Mr. Stulb was required to register.

In response to a request from Mr. Stulb last year, Judge Wheale resentenced Mr. Stulb under the First Offender Act, which eliminated Mr. Stulb's requirement to register.

The district attorney's office appealed, saying the judge did not have the authority to resentence Mr. Stulb as a first offender because he had already been convicted of a felony.

The Georgia Court of Appeals agreed, ruling Monday that "a trial court is only authorized to grant first offender treatment before a defendant has been adjudicated guilty and sentenced."

Mr. Stulb is being held in the Glynn County Detention Center in Brunswick, Ga., without bond on a child molestation charge. He is accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl in Sea Island, Ga., on June 22.

A trial set for Monday in that case was postponed, according to the Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office. No new date has been set.

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