Convicted Child Molester Found In Company of Children During Traffic Stop, Sent Back to Jail

The following information was supplied by the Watkinsville, Ga., Police Department. An arrest does not mean a conviction.


A traffic stop on April 17 resulted in a convicted child molester going back to jail.

Around 3 p.m. last Tuesday, Watkinsville police stopped the driver of a 2000 Mercury Mountaineer for traveling at a high rate of speed on North Main Street. The 26-year-old Greensboro woman was cited for speeding. She had an 18-month-old child and a six-week-old baby in the SUV with her.

According to a news release from Police Chief Lee O'Dillon, a passenger in the vehicle, who refused to co-operate or identify himself, was finally identified as Willie John Merritt, 45, of Greensboro. Merritt is a convicted child molester and a registered sex offender forbidden from being in the company of children, O'Dillon noted. The Georgia Department Of Corrections advised Watkinsville police of an outstanding probation violation warrant and Merritt was taken into custody and turned over to the State Probation Office.

O'Dillon recapped some of the other incidents that police responded to during the week ending on April 15:

  • At 8:55 Monday morning, April 16, a 2001 Honda Odyssey was stopped in a line of traffic on Experiment Station Road at Durham Street when it was hit from behind by a 2008 Toyota Camry. No one was injured. A 65-year-old man was charged with following too closely.
  • On April 16 at 12:39 p.m., a 2000 Ford F-250 backed up on Third Street at Water Street and struck the front of a 2000 Toyota Solara. Neither driver was injured.  A 65-year-old Bogart man was charged with improper backing.
  • Tuesday evening, April 17, a VFW Drive resident reported that her 34-year-old roommate had not been seen or heard from since Monday. The missing woman’s cell phone was turned off and her car was parked at the VFW Drive residence. A look-out was posted for the woman and a round-the-clock effort to contact family members, friends, and former co- workers was started. Late Wednesday afternoon the woman was located with a friend in McDonough. She returned to Watkinsville.
  • At 4:13 Wednesday afternoon, April 18, a 1990 Chevrolet Silverado struck the back of a 1996 Nissan Maxima forcing it into the back of a 2004 Dodge Durango on Whitehall Road at Calls Creek Drive. Several vehicles had stopped due to a car at the front of the line attempting to make a left turn. No one was injured. An Athens man, 23, was charged with following too closely.
  •  At 5:38 p.m. on April 18, police stopped the driver of a 1997 Toyota Camry for traveling at a high rate of speed on Barnett Shoals Road.  Police charged the driver with speeding and driving on a suspended license after a computer check revealed the suspension. The same computer check also revealed the 31-year-old Winterville man was wanted by Walton County for failure to appear on previous traffic charges there. He was booked into the Oconee County Jail awaiting pick-up by the Walton County Sheriff’s Department.
  • Thursday, April 19 at 6:08 p.m., a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox exited McRee Street into the path of a northbound 1997 GMC Sierra on Ga. Highway 15 near the railroad tracks. Three people were taken by National EMS for treatment. A 16-year-old driver from Eatonton was charged with failure to yield to the right of way.
  • At 7:17 Saturday morning, April 21, police were summoned to a North Main Street address where a temporary guest was refusing to leave. The resident had allowed a 45-year-old man, who recently got out of prison, to stay there for a few day.  But, after the visitor accused the resident of stealing his pain medication, the resident demanded that the man leave. Police stood by to keep the peace while the visitor gathered his belongings and rode away on a bicycle.


Watkinsville police responded to a total of 36 calls within city limits between Monday, April 16 through Sunday, April 22.


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