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Press Release

Georgia Man Sentenced to Prison for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Sherri Lydon stated today that Marial Watson, age 29, of Columbus, Georgia, was sentenced in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel, of Charleston, sentenced Watson to 78 months imprisonment and 5 years Supervised Release.

Evidence in this case established that in 2013, Watson was convicted in Georgia of Aggravated Assault with Intent to Rape.  Due to this sex offense, Watson was required under state and federal law to register as sex offender, and to keep the registration current, in any state where he lived or worked.

In January 2017, Watson moved to South Carolina, but he failed to notify the authorities in Georgia or to register as a sex offender in South Carolina.  In addition to his failure to register as a sex offender, Watson was arrested in April 2017 on unrelated charges.  During this arrest, police found a loaded 9 mm handgun and 101 rounds of ammunition in Watson’s possession. 

The case was investigated by agents from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Project CeaseFire is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.  Assistant United States Attorney Rhett DeHart of the office prosecuted the case.




Lance Crick (864) 282-2105

Updated September 27, 2018

Project Safe Neighborhoods