Friday, December 8, 2023

Denton sex offender stalked woman, broke into her home and assaulted her, police say

The Denton Police Department arrested a registered sex offender Friday after he allegedly stalked a woman, broke into her home, restrained her for hours and assaulted her.

Early Friday morning, a woman reported that a man she didn’t know broke into her home and restrained her against her will for about two hours. He allegedly threatened her and cut her with a knife during a struggle. The man eventually fled with the woman’s credit card and some other property, and then she freed herself and called 911. She had minor injuries.

Detectives quickly identified the suspect as Paul Merritt, 72, a registered sex offender, after reviewing interior surveillance footage. He was contact and detained Friday afternoon, wearing the same clothes as the suspect in the video, and he had fresh scratches on his face.

While speaking to detectives, Merritt confessed to multiple crimes, saying he saw the woman in a store about two months ago, and he followed her home and watched her at her home multiple times. He admitted to breaking into her home and assaulting her, and also said he had previously attempted to break in.

Detectives also determined that Merritt lied about his residential address and was primarily living at another residence, failing to comply with his sex offender registration requirements, according to police.

Merritt was charged with stalking, failure to comply with registration requirements with previous conviction, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful restraint, and burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit another felony. His bond was set at $355,000.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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