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Press Release

Jackson County Man Sentenced For Failing To Register As A Sex Offender

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

On September 12, 2014, Willie Joe Strayhorn, a/k/a “Jo Jo,” 47, of Murphysboro, was sentenced on a one-count indictment charging Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Strayhorn was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and fined $200.

The offense occurred between November 1, 2010, and September 4, 2013, in Jackson County. Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings established that Strayhorn was required to register as a sex offender under both Illinois law and the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), because of a 1993 conviction for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse in Jackson County Circuit Court. Strayhorn failed to register in August 2010, and in July 2011, members of the United States Marshals Service Task Force found Strayhorn hiding in a closet in a Dyersburg, Tennessee, residence. Strayhorn had not registered in Illinois since August 2010 and never registered in Tennessee. The district judge imposed a higher sentence on Strayhorn based on his substantial criminal history, which included previous convictions for robbery, aggravated battery, domestic battery, residential burglary, burglary, forgery, possession of a controlled substance, failure to register as a sex offender, evading arrest, and theft.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

The case was investigated by the United States Marshals Service and the Murphysboro Police Department. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amanda A. Robertson for prosecution.

Updated February 19, 2015