Sheriff Says Murder Case Highlights Importance Of Sex Offender Registration

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The Marshall County sheriff said the Wednesday arrest of a murder suspect highlights the importance of registrations for convicted sex offenders.

U.S. Marshals captured Sean Ray Blanks in Blount County.

Blanks is charged with the murder of Billy Wayne Glassco, Jr., and is also a convicted sex offender.

Sheriff Scott Walls said if Blanks had been in compliance with his sex offender registration, it might not have changed the situation between Blanks and Glassco, but deputies were already looking for him the last week of July and the murder happened August 1.

"If we had got our hands on him prior to that night, it could have saved that particular case," Walls said.

Blanks was convicted in 1995 of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl when he was 21.

He moved from DeKalb County to Marshall County in April.

"Unfortunately when you get a sex offender moved to your county from another area, you don't know anything about that person other than what they've provided when they registered." Walls said.

State law requires quarterly check-ins for registered sex offenders, which Walls and his deputies do face to face.

Marshall County also requires registered sex offenders to call the sheriff's office every month to verify their address and place of employment.

"If we don't get those phone calls, we check immediately, so we're only 30 days behind instead of that quarterly check that comes up every three months," Walls said.

"It's so important to know where these people are at.  All the statistics indicate that they will re-offend, and we watch our sex offenders here in this county extremely close."

Walls said Blanks was due to turn in at the sheriff's office by July 30.

When he did not, they went looking for him, and Walls said Blanks wasn't at his registered address on Blessing Road in east Albertville.

Investigators later learned Blanks was staying with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Denise Burns, at a house on Williams Bend Road in the Martling community, north of Albertville.

That is where Billy Wayne Glassco, Jr., died from stab wounds.

Investigators said Burns was there at the time of the stabbing, and was with Blanks for the eight days he was on the run.

Sheriff Walls said the Alabama legislature passed a law two years ago which makes it illegal to house or aid a sex offender in hiding from authorities.

"We like the changes in the law that have taken place so far," he said.

"I think there will be some additional changes coming up in the next session or two in the legislature to fill in the loopholes and make that law a little more strict, so we can be sure of how we're going to track those individuals."

Deputies in DeKalb and Etowah Counties also searched for Blanks, until U.S. Marshals caught the couple in a cabin at Boogie Bottoms in Blount County and brought them to the Marshall County Jail.

"It's been a group effort and everybody did a fantastic job," Walls said.

Blanks is charged with murder, failure to report, and failure to register a new place of residence.

Burns is charged with hindering prosecution and harboring a sex offender, which carries a punishment of one to 10 years in prison.