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Lizotte sentenced to five years after sex sting

First of nine defendants sentenced

George Lizotte

An elderly Bullhead City man is the first of nine defendants to be sentenced in an undercover sting operation aimed at men wanting to have sex with minors. The operation involved a Mohave County Sheriff’s detective who posed as 13-year-old “Sabrina” on a social media platform before diverting men who responded to text communication.

Eight other men from Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Kingman and Las Vegas were also snared in the investigation and indicted for various offenses.

George Lizotte, 72, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15 and of luring a minor under the age of 15 for sexual exploitation. Other charges were dismissed in the deal that required imposition of a prison term between 5 and 10 years.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle agreed with defense attorney Robin Puchek that mitigating factors included Lizotte’s former military service, his lack of any substantial criminal history and the fact that there was no actual victim in the case. Carlisle imposed the minimum five year prison sentence, followed by lifetime probation.

Prosecutor Greg McPhillips had asked for more prison time, arguing that the defendant fully intended to have sex with a teenager. “Mr. Lizotte had an intent to harm children.”

McPhillips also defended the undercover sting operation as a proactive approach by officers trying to find predators before children might have been victimized. He said the highly publicized operation has garnered support beyond the law enforcement community.

“The public is very much behind this kind of prosecution,” McPhillips said.

Durrel Shaw, 33, Las Vegas, entered a plea agreement identical to Lizotte’s and he faces the same possible years in prison range when sentenced May 30. Another Las Vegas man, Kevin Moninger, 63, faces up to 40 years in prison when sentenced June 3 following trial convictions for three counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and attempted sexual conduct with a minor.

Other defendants whose cases are pending include Albert Olvera, 79, and James Earnest, both of Bullhead City; Warren Mitchell Gillespie, 45, and Daniel Eugene Martin, both of Lake Havasu City and Kingman residents Justin Harryman, 39 and Paul Carlton, 33.