MERCER – A Sharon man implicated in the October 2019 overdose death of a 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty Thursday to sex-related charges and will serve a long prison sentence.
Leonard Michael Frye Jr., 20, of 276 Oak Way, pleaded guilty to Sharon police charges of statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, sexual abuse of children and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in exchange for a 23- to 50-year sentence in state prison. He will also have to register for the rest of his life as a sexual offender.
Frye made his plea before Mercer County Common Pleas Judge Tedd C. Nesbit.
Defense Attorney Ryan Mergl explained that the district attorney’s office agreed not to report child pornography offenses to federal authorities in exchange for the plea.
Frye admitted to police and in court that he knew that sex acts he was performing with the 14-year-old he called his girlfriend and a 15-year-old had been recorded on video. Under federal law, he could have faced a 15-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for each of the four offenses.
Mergl told the judge Frye agreed to the long state prison term because of the prospect of an even longer sentence in federal prison.
On the morning of Oct. 26, Sharon police responded to a call at Frye’s home on a report of a possible overdose of the 14-year-old girl, according to a police criminal complaint.
Police said the girl was dead, her body in Frye’s bedroom, and illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia were in plain sight.
Assistant District Attorney Shane Crevar said Thursday that the girl’s autopsy showed that she died from to an overdose of the drug suboxone.
Police filed three charges in three separate cases, but prosecutors dropped all of the charges not associated with Frye’s guilty plea. That included child pornography-related charges stemming from 14 video files — which police said showed Frye assaulting the girl — stored on his cell phone.
Frye is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19 in Nesbit’s court.
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