On Friday 55-year-old Ritchie Lawson was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sexual assault of an adult.
After hearing testimony all week, a jury found Lawson guilty of sexually assaulting a 55-year-old woman back in April of 2011. On Friday afternoon Judge Blair Cherry handed down the life sentence.
"He was a repeat offender, a habitual offender under our law. He has been to prison multiple times and then committed one of the most serious offenses we have in the state… that we've ever had as a society which is sexual assault or rape," said Barron Slack, assistant district attorney. "I think that was a well deserved life sentence from the judge."
The victim was one of many who took the stand, telling jurors of her brutal rape. She says Lawson was a neighbor and she thought they were friends.
She says for hours Lawson sexually assaulted her multiple times. "The last time he raped me was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and I believed I was dead… I believed that whole heartedly," the victim told KCBD. "I know that feeling, and you know it's terrible. It's a very lonely feeling. I wasn't scared anymore. I wasn't panicking. I was just dead."
During the trial Lawson continued to tell the jury that he was innocent and that the victim was trying to set him up. "It's more than unrealistic, it goes to show his character, his desperation and his inability to own up to his actions," said Slack.
While the victim is relieved for the life sentence, she just wants Lawson to own up to his actions so she can begin the painful process of closure. "I wish he would just say he's sorry. Just acknowledging it and owning up to it," she said.
The victim hopes more women, men and children will speak out about their attackers. "I just hope people would have the courage and not be afraid," she said.
Lawson will have to serve half his life sentence before being eligible for parole.
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