SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A convicted Sarasota rapist and murderer will be released from his sentence after a judge ruled he no longer poses a threat to the community, SNN-TV reported.
John Waterman, 54, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for raping and killing his 36-year-old neighbor and raping a 31-year-old woman in the Hudson Bayou neighborhood of Sarasota in 1991.
According to reports, Waterman was sentenced prior to a law that requires inmates to serve at least 85% of their term. He served only 44% of his original sentence, and was released after only 20 years of incarceration due to good behavior.
After the stint in prison, Waterman was placed in a privately run treatment facility for sex offenders that are held under the Jimmy Ryce Act of 1998. The Jimmy Rye Act was named after a 9-year-old boy who was kidnapped, raped, murdered and dismembered by a ranch hand who was executed for the crime in 2014. It requires the state to evaluate sex offenders before they’re released from prison.
Two psychologists who had been evaluating Waterman testified at a hearing Monday, telling Judge Fred Mercucio he was unlikely to reoffend. Dr. Robin Wilson said that “within a reasonable degree of psychologically certainty, that Mr. Waterman no longer poses a threat.”
“The court finds based on expert opinion of two psychologists that the defendant Mr. Waterman – within a reasonable agree of psychological certainty – no longer meets the criteria to be involuntarily civilly committed as a sexually violent predator,” the judge said.
Waterman is eligible to be released immediately. He will stay in a halfway house in Orlando and must register as a sex offender.
It’s not yet known whether he will return to Sarasota.
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