Convicted Child Molester Caught With Missing Toddler

Thursday, August 13th 2009, 7:24 am
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Police arrest a convicted child molester.  He was charged on Friday with molesting another little girl.  The two year old who was kidnapped from her grandmother's yard.  If Marcus Berry, Senior, is convicted of the crime, it will be the third time he's been sent to prison for molesting a young girl.

8/12/2009 Related story: Tulsa Police Question Man In Child's Abduction

Some people wonder why, after the first two, he was out of prison at all.

Research by The News On 6 shows there were three opportunities that would've meant Berry was behind bars on Wednesday night, instead of finding a new victim.

First, his 30 year prison sentence in 1993 should have kept him in prison until the year 2023, but he was released three years ago, after serving less than half his time.

Second, two years ago, Berry went to trial because he didn't register as a sex offender, but a jury found him innocent and set him free.

Third, last year, he was charged with living too close to a school, but he was given a suspended sentence rather than prison time.

Two Tulsa Police officers on patrol deserve the credit for Marcus Berry's Wednesday night arrest.  They spotted a truck in a field and decided to check on it.  Inside, they found Berry and a two-year-old girl, both partially clothed.  As the officers were arresting him, they learned the girl had been kidnapped.  And then, they learned Marcus Berry, Senior, was a two time convicted child molester.

The last piece of information really bothered officers.

"It really makes you angry and frustrated because the system failed this little girl," said Tulsa Police Sgt. John Adams.

Berry received a 30 year sentence for breaking into a Tulsa home in 1993 and molesting an eight-year- old girl who was asleep.  The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says he was released after 13 years because prisoners are allowed to earn credits, up to 44 days credit for every 30 they serve.

Berry had already spent five years in prison for a 1986 case when he molested a 13-year-old girl.

During the past three years that he has been out of prison, Berry has been back in court twice.  Tulsa Police realized he wasn't registered, filed the case and the DA took it to trial.  But, Berry claimed he was homeless so, the jury found him not guilty.

A year later, police realized he was living too close to Booker T. Washington High School, so another case was sent to the DA who filed charges.  Once again, Berry claimed homelessness.

The appeals court had ruled that was a legitimate defense, so rather than risk another jury setting Berry free, the Tulsa County District Attorney went for a conviction and two years probation.

"We thought that was better than going to jury trial and receiving another not guilty based on the homelessness defense and the public gets some protection," said Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris.

Now, police are frustrated.  The district attorney is frustrated.  And, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says it's just following the law.  None of that helps a two-year-old girl and her family.

If Berry is convicted this time, he could be sentenced to life.