Less than two years after he masqueraded as a prep basketball star named Jerry Joseph, Haitian-born 23-year-old Guerdwich Montimere was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday, reaching a plea deal with state prosecutors in Lubbock, Texas.
Montimere, who emerged from nowhere to become one of the more promising prospects in the state of Texas while starring for Odessa (Texas) Permian High in 2010, competed as a ninth-grader despite turning 22 in the middle of his team's 2010 state playoff campaign.
The litany of charges against Montimere, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, mostly focused on identity theft, but also included charges of sexual assault. That charge was connected to his admission of sex with a 15-year-old girl.
The six felony charges Montimere faced could have landed him as many as 20 years in prison, making his three-year sentence significant but also far more forgiving than he could have received.
"Sometimes your best defense is to take the road with the least amount of risk. He could have gotten 20 years," Montimere's attorney Dusty Gallivan told the Associated Press.
Montimere had already graduated from a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. high school when he suited up for Permian while living with Panthers basketball coach Danny Wright, who helped Montimere (whom Wright still refers to as "Jerry") gain eligibility through the waiver process instituted by Texas' University Interscholastic League.
While Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland insisted that Montimere's sentence was proof that justice had been done, others in the Permian community still refrain from passing judgment on the oversized teen they once knew as Jerry.
"I know he was doing all of it for himself to be better off," Permian substitute teacher Liz Faught told the AP. "And that's fine. We all do that. ... I cannot say one bad thing about this kid."