LOGAN — A 27-year-old Wellsville man has pleaded guilty to multiple drug and sex-offender cases and will now await sentencing. Tanner J. Mitton accepted a plea deal to try and keep him from going to prison.
Mitton participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing by web conference from the Cache County Jail. He pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to register as a sex-offender and one count of drug possession with the intent to distribute, all third-degree felonies; plus three misdemeanors for possession of a controlled substance, interfering with an arresting officer, and another count of failing to keep his sex-offender registry up to date.
Public defender Shannon Demler explained that as part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop 20 remaining charges against Mitton and allow him to be released on probation until sentencing. Prosecutors also will not ask for a prison term at the time of sentencing, and will allow credit for time the defendant has already served in jail.
Last fall, Cache County sheriff’s deputies began investigating Mitton, after receiving a drug tip. They tracked the defendant making multiple brief trips to several parking lots and convenience stores in the Murray area. They also reported that he had failed to update his sex-offender registry with his current residence, vehicle description and social media usernames.
On Oct. 17, deputies initiated a traffic stop as Mitton was returning from another trip to Murray. After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found methamphetamine and heroin inside the vehicle.
Mitton told the court during a previous hearing that he had tried to be honest and put his life back together. He admitted drug use had caused him to spiral downward previously but wanted to be in his daughter’s life again.
The plea deal came a month before Mitton was scheduled to go to trial. The cases had been delayed partially due to coronavirus restrictions on in-court hearings.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Angela Fonnesbeck accepted Mitton’s plea agreement. She ordered the defendant not to use or possess any drugs or alcohol while released and follow probation agents.
Mitton was ordered to appear again in court Oct. 9 for sentencing. In 2012, he was convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.