Fugitive surrenders after being pictured in The Examiner

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Local,Crime,Freeman Klopott

A convicted sex offender wanted out of North Carolina turned himself in to authorities after seeing a story about himself in The Washington Examiner, U.S. marshals said.

Larry Donnell Cotton woke up Thursday morning, grabbed a copy of The Examiner, saw a story about himself in the weekly "Most Wanted" column and promptly turned himself in, said Deputy Marshal Matt Burke of the Capital Area Fugitive Task Force.

The 43-year-old has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for sexual assault of a minor, assault and battery, burglary and for weapons offenses, Burke said. He was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender, for the second time in his lengthy history as a criminal.

"Anybody that's not following the requirement and registering is considered to a be a dangerous person," Burke said. "They're not following the rules and they probably have a reason for doing that."

When he turned himself in, Cotton didn't know he was recently indicted in D.C.'s federal court under a new federal law that allows prosecutors to charge sex offenders who fail to register and then cross state lines. Now that he faces federal charges, he faces a potentially longer prison term.

Cotton is at least the 18th fugitive to either turn himself in as a result of The Examiner's "Most Wanted" column, or be caught after authorities received tips from Examiner readers. Among those captured are a two-time convicted murderer, an Adams Morgan mugger and a kidnapping suspect who had narrowly escaped from police in a wild shootout near the National Arboretum.

"We're thankful to The Examiner and its readers," Burke said. "This is exactly what we want to have happen. Cotton saw himself in The Examiner and turned himself in right away."

The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, is comprised of 30 federal, state and local agencies from Baltimore to Norfolk. The unit has captured more than 29,000 wanted fugitives since its creation in 2004.

fklopott@washingtonexaminer.com

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Freeman Klopott

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner