Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seattle serial rapist faces, gets mandatory life without parole sentence for rapes of homeless women

(Original Post 9-20-10)
A serial rapist who was convicted for attacks on two homeless women will be sentenced to life without parole after a Seattle jury convicted him of 2 counts of 2nd degree rape Thursday, September 16. The life sentence which 51 year old Frank Borders will serve upon his sentencing is a consequence of Washington State's three strikes law, which mandated the sentence for a third strike.

The first rape was reported in December 2007, when a 55-year-old woman said Borders, her boyfriend's brother, raped her in the restroom at a downtown Seattle park. The investigation stalled, however, when the victim, who was homeless, disappeared for several months.

After the woman agreed to be interviewed by police the next October, Seattle police began posting fliers with Borders' photo at several downtown homeless shelters in search of other possible victims, according to the court documents.

On March 17, 2009, the day after a flier was posted at a YWCA shelter downtown, police were called by a woman who claimed Borders lured her into the woods with the promise they would smoke crack and assaulted her, court papers said.

The second victim testified during both trials that she didn't come forward earlier because she was convinced that nobody would care about what happened to her because she was homeless during the summer of 2007. She is now 48, off drugs and living in an apartment.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Julie Kays said that due to Borders' 1981 rape conviction of attacking a 18 year old woman for which he served a year in jail and 5 years probation, life without parole is mandatory. "These 12 people protected our community and our very vulnerable by finding him guilty. I have no doubt that if he were released he would re-offend. These 12 people got it that it doesn't matter if you're homeless and an addict you will still get justice."

Borders' attorney, Julie Gaisford, begged to differ, citing the fact that one of the victims was high on crack cocaine and that other did not reliably identify her client. "You glimpse truth over your shoulder, you never see it head on."

(Update 11-4-10) Borders was formally sentenced Friday, October 29, to life without parole by Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert. Before sentencing, Kays said that for targeting vulnerable women, "He preyed on vulnerable women and he banked on the fact no one would care if they came forward.He deserves, based on his conduct alone, to spend the rest of his life in prison."

One of Borders' victims said that the sentencing itself showed that at least in some cases, the justice system does work for vulnerable victims. That victim said that because of Borders' imprisonment,  "I do matter.It's a shame he's thrown away his life. I'm trying to rebuild mine." That victim is no longer homeless.

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