"Are you Guerdwich Montimere?" 70th District Court Judge Denn Whalen asked the defendant.
"Yes, yes sir, I am," the man formerly known as Jerry Joseph answered softly.
Those words and a plea deal ended the more than year-long scandal of the 2007 Dillard High graduate who went to Odessa, Texas, and was accepted into the community as Jerry Joseph, a 16-year-old Haitian orphan and basketball player at Permian High.
The now 23-year-old Montimere pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of tampering with government records. In jail since his arrest in May 2010, Montimere was scheduled to go on trial Aug. 1.
He was sentenced to three years in prison on each count. The sentences will run concurrently and he will get credit for time served - more than a year in the Ector County Detention Center.
Montimere was accused of lying about his name and age to enroll at Nimitz Junior High and then Permian, in addition to having a sexual relationship with a Permian High 15-year-old girl.
Manikisse Montimere, his mother who lives in Lauderdale Lakes, said Wednesday night she was happy the ordeal was over.
"For me I knew it was going to be so difficult for him. I believe it was the smart thing for him to plead guilty," said Manikisse Montimere, who said she hasn't heard from her son since he left for college a few years ago. "I never knew anything. I hope he will talk to me about this when he gets out."
Montimere admitted to being the same man named in each of the indictments, and admitted guilt in each one.
He enrolled at Nimitz with the help of Jabari Caldwell, a former teammate at Dillard who is also facing charges of tampering with government records, and later began living with Permian basketball coach Danny Wright.
His story unraveled when he was spotted by some of his previous coaches during an AAU basketball tournament in Arkansas. Reports questioning his identity reached Permian school officials, the Sun Sentinel and the newspaper in Odessa.
Admitting his guilt in court may end speculation in Odessa that he was really Jerry Joseph or that he had convinced himself he was Jerry Joseph.
"Mr. Montimere, are you pleading guilty to each of these charges because you are guilty and for no other reason?" Whalen said.
"Yes, sir," Montimere said.
District Attorney Bobby Bland said he extended the deal at the behest of the victim of the sexual assault. In previous reports the girl told investigators she thought he was also 15 when she had sex with him. Without her consent he said a deal would not have happened.
"It was probably a little lighter than I would have wanted to give, but it's what the victim wanted," he said. "The main thing on this is he's going to prison when he could have gotten probation. And the most just thing about this is that he's going to be a convicted sex offender and he has to register wherever he goes.
"He will never be able to do this again."
Bland said Montimere previously admitted a few times that he was not Joseph, including when he was confronted with fingerprints, but he backtracked each time.
Montimere had to admit to who he was in court Wednesday.
"Today, he had to go into court and acknowledge who he was," Bland said. "And to me, that was very satisfactory. I enjoyed watching him have to acknowledge in a court of law that he was Guerdwich Montimere."
The District Attorney's Office dismissed a fourth count of tampering with government records.
Jimmie Wright, Danny Wright's wife, was in court Wednesday, and said she is still Montimere's mother despite what evidence tells, and said the plea deal does not change how she views her son, who was brought in by the family when he came to Odessa.
"I feel like he was trying to survive the only way he knew how," she said. "In court, he's still just trying to survive. He's called Jerry, he still goes by Jerry and he'll always go by Jerry."
Wright's daughter, Rebecca Krumnow, also was at the plea hearing and said she didn't think he had much of a choice and would have been found guilty if he went to trial.
Krumnow said she felt everyone else but the family was against him and he wouldn't have gotten a fair trial.
"I feel sad for him because I know it hurt him to say he was guilty of these things," she said. "That is my little brother, no matter what anybody says."
Staff writer Dave Brousseau contributed to this report.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun