SYCAMORE – A registered sex offender accused of carrying weapons into a Waterman park agreed to plead guilty Tuesday afternoon just before his trial was scheduled to begin, officials said.
Christopher Sowers, 28, of Zion, admitted to two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and was sentenced Tuesday to 1 1/2 years of conditional discharge, which is a type of nonreporting probation, according to court records.
Sowers was scheduled to appear in front of Associate Judge John McAdams to decide if he was also guilty of unlawful presence of a sex offender within a school zone and within a park, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. He faced up to three years in prison if convicted of unlawful presence of a sex offender within a school zone.
Sowers was accused of carrying a knife and hatchet May 15, 2013, at Waterman Lions Park, which is near Indian Creek Middle School, court records show. He told police he was taking a break from riding his motorcycle while on a road trip and was carrying the weapons for protection, court records show.
Sowers was previously convicted of aggravated sexual criminal assault against a victim younger than 9 years old and is classified as a sexual predator, court records show.
As part of his sentence, Sowers may not possess a gun or other dangerous weapon, must pay $500 in fines and costs and forfeit any seized items, said DeKalb County Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel McIntyre.
Sowers is also allowed to move to Arkansas if he wishes, McIntyre said.