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'Hilltop Creeper' Suspect Pleads Guilty, Gets 20 Years
COLUMBUS (Ken Hines) -- The man accused of being the so-called "Hilltop Creeper" was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to several charges.
Deneen Black pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary and one count of gross sexual imposition, bringing an end to his trial, which began last week in Columbus.
Black was arrested in September, 2012 in connection with 19 break-ins that occurred over a 9-month-period in West Columbus. In some of those cases, Black is accused of entering the bedrooms of women, whom he would watch and sometimes touch before leaving the homes.
One of Black's victims, Lisa Sharp, addressed the defendant in court before he was sentenced to two decades behind bars.
"What you did, when you came into my house, it you robbed me of peace of mind. In my own home," Sharp said. "But I take my power back from you this day."
Black agreed to the plea deal as prosecutors prepared to continue their case against him in court. Another one of his victims gave testimony on February 12, during which she told jurors Black groped in her bedroom when she was just 15-years-old.
"He told me to shut up and be quiet," the teen said in court. "He told me, if I move, he didn't want to do anything, but he would if he had to."
Black had been under police surveillance for weeks before he was arrested on a burglary charge related to a break-in on Sullivant Avenue in July, 2012. After he was taken into custody, Black provided detectives with information that linked him to the other "Hilltop Creeper" crimes.
Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of kidnapping against Black in exchange for his guilty pleas on the burglary and gross sexual imposition counts.