Sentencing postponed for Jackson County man accused of faking own death to avoid sentencing

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JACKSON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Sentencing for a man accused of attempting to fake his own death to avoid his sentencing has been postponed, according to Jackson County, West Virginia, Circuit Court records.

Court records say Jesse Wood, a convicted sex offender, has been sent for a 60-day diagnostic evaluation.

Yesterday morning, Thursday, Dec. 2, emergency crews received a call that a man had attempted to jump from the Ritchie Bridge connecting Ravenswood and Meigs County, Ohio. While first responders from both counties were searching the river for the alleged body, investigators learned that the man was scheduled for sentencing this morning, Dec. 3.

Jackson County Sheriff Ross H. Mellinger says authorities went to Wood’s home nearby the bridge and found him hiding in a closet. He was arrested for falsifying an emergency report. Wood’s sentencing that has now been rescheduled is connected to charges of failing to register as a sex offender.

“We asked him shortly thereafter apprehending Mr. Wood straight-up ‘Why in the world he would want people to believe you would commit suicide and jumped off the bridge?’ and his only response was because I wanted them to believe that,” said Mellinger.

Mellinger also said authorities believe Wood staged the incident in the middle of the night, parking his car near the bridge, and then walked home.

Wood’s new sentencing date has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 17, 2022.

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