Sex offender who moved to Mississippi after corresponding with local girl to enter plea

Kelly McKnight
Kelly McKnight

GULFPORT -- A convicted sex offender who moved to South Mississippi after he started messaging a girl over the Internet is scheduled to plead guilty to a federal charge next week.

Kelly Anthony McKnight, 40, of Pringle Circle in Biloxi, is scheduled to enter the plea Tuesday in federal court. He is facing a sentence of up to five years.

McKnight has been held without bond on a federal charge of failure to register as a sex offender since his January arrest in Harrison County.

Harrison County authorities arrested McKnight after he went to the Sheriff's Department to register as a sex offender and authorities learned he was wanted in New York for failure to register there. He had previously registered a Rochester, N.Y., address, but hadn't kept his moves current.

In an order denying McKnight bond, a judge said McKnight claimed he didn't use marijuana, but then tested positive for the drug the day of a court hearing. McKnight also has a previous conviction for two counts of marijuana possession and one count each of aggravated harassment and second-degree rape of a child.

According to the New York sex offender registry, McKnight was 26 when he raped a 14-year-old girl in New York. He was convicted of that charge in 2001, the registry says.

McKnight served three years of a five-year sentence for rape before he was paroled.

He ended up serving the remainder of that sentence because of a parole violation.

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