Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet sentenced a Tallahassee man Friday to five years in prison followed by sex offender probation for traveling to Bay County to have sex with a minor.
Assistant State Attorney Christa Diviney told jurors at the beginning of trial March 22 that Mark Christie Griffis, 41, began a text and email conversation with a person through a Craig's List ad, and the conversation didn't end when the person identified herself as a 14-year-old girl.
On June 14, Griffis drove to Bay County to meet this person, texting her along the way, when she assured him that her "parents were gone." When he arrived, however, he was greeted by the undercover police officers who had been posing as the girl.
Jurors found Griffis guilty as charged of traveling to meet a minor to commit a sex act and soliciting a minor.
Overstreet took into account Griffis' minimal criminal record of prior misdemeanor offenses, in coming to his sentence.
"This is a very serious offense. There's no excuse for it," Overstreet told Griffis. "This is not a plan for your rehabilitation, this is a plan for your punishment."
Overstreet ordered Griffis to prison for five years on both counts, to run concurrently, followed by 10 years of sex offender probation.