Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Habitual criminal sentenced to at least 32 years for rape

A Greenville, NC man was sentenced to 32 to 39 years in prison Monday, November 16 for raping a 22 year old woman. James Lee Cotton, who turns 40 on November 22, was supposed to go to trial for the rape of the woman, but decided to enter an Alford (or no contest) plea. Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke Jr. sentenced Cotton, and after he's released, he'll have to register as a sex offender.

Cotton was arrested in 2007 after DNA testing matched him to evidence collected in the 2002 rape. The woman, then 22, said she woke up to someone who put a pillow to her face, produced a knife and raped her, police reported. The suspect entered the residence through a partially opened window at the residence on East Fifth Street.

Cotton was in prison at the time of his arrest. N.C. Department of Correction records indicate Cotton had been convicted on multiple breaking and entering of vehicle charges and a habitual felon charge.

Cotton's plea spared him from a possible de facto life sentence for two counts of 1st degree rape, 1st degree sex offense, and a count of 1st degree burglary.

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