Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two rapists sentenced to de facto life terms in New Hanover County courts

Last Thursday, December 10, 2009, two separate rapists were convicted by New Hanover County juries of separate sex and kidnapping crimes against mainly adult victims. Nicholas Lee Lofton, a 28 year old resicent of Rocky Point, NC, was convicted of robbery, two counts of kidnapping, burglary and two counts of assaulting a child under 12 years old, malicious castration, one count of attempted sex offense and two counts of sex offense. Lofton was sentenced to 84-115 years in prison. The second rapist, 51 year old Douglas Job Smith, was sentenced to 94-115 years in prison after convictions of rape, sex offense and kidnapping. The New Hanover County District Attorney's Office prosecuted both cases.

In the Lofton case, a man and woman testified that three men, including Lofton, burst into their bedroom on Oct. 5, 2007 while they slept in a home in the 600 block of Sharease Circle and pointed guns at them. The attackers punched and kicked the man, and burned his neck and genitals with hot pliers, said prosecutor Barrett Temple. The attackers bound the man and his girlfriend, she said. During the attack, all three attackers sexually assaulted the man's girlfriend in front of the man's two young girls, whose eyes were duct-taped, Temple said. “The girls were awake the whole time and aware of what was going on."

The attackers, who were known by their victims, rummaged through the house and grabbed $400 in cash and jewelry. Lofton was caught because the victims knew his voice and saw his face. Temple said that “It was a tough case for us, and we were pleased with the verdict.”

On December 10, 2007, Smith pulled up in his vehicle and offered a 32 year old woman a ride home, but instead of taking her home, he took her to his house, a 8' x 27' camped behind a Castle Hayne business, according to prosecutor Connie Jordan.

When the woman asked to use the bathroom, she couldn't because the room was littered with feces. That's when Smith pulled out a butcher knife and forced her to take off her clothes. He bound her wrists and ankles and duct-taped her mouth before raping and sexually assaulting her over six hours, Jordan said.

It wasn't until workers at the business arrived the following morning that they asked Smith to move his truck because it was parked across several parking spaces. He moved his vehicle and returned to the residence where the woman eventually managed to undo the duct tape on her ankles and run outside to an automotive business where workers contacted 911, Jordan said.

Police found the woman's clothes inside a garbage bag in the camper, and arrested Smith in Columbus County, NC. According to Jordan, “The jury's verdict will really help her attempt to put this behind her more. Not only has she been trying to forget it for two years, I really feel like their verdict is a powerful healing tool for her...This will be with her for the rest of her life. I don't see any way around that. It's a devastating crime. I can't even begin to understand how you cope with this.”

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