Sunday, September 26, 2010

Serial "girlfriend" rapist sentenced to life without parole for raping woman in front of her child

A Savannah, GA man with a history of raping "girlfriends" was sentenced to life without parole as four-time habitual offender Monday, September 20. 47 year old Jerry Howard was convicted by a Chatham County, GA jury Saturday, September 18 of rape, aggravated assault, and misdemeanor cruelty to a child for raping and choking his 28 year old "girlfriend" in front of her 1 year old daughter at his home November 29, 2007.

Assistant District Attorney Isabel Pauley presented evidence that Howerd tried to intimidate the victim into recanting the charges and called as a witness a previous "girlfriend" who was attacked in a similar manner in 1988. 

Chatham County Superior Court Judge John E. Morse Jr imposed the life sentence on Howard based on prior felony convictions. The life term for rape and the 20 year term for aggravated assault were imposed consecutive to each other. A year term for cruelty to a child will be served concurrently with the life sentence. Because this is his fourth strike, the life term is without parole. These convictions include robbery, possession of controlled substances and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Howard was released from prison in August 2007, three months before the latest attack.

Below is the law requiring four time felons in Georgia to serve the maximum sentence for that crime without parole.

[A]ny person who, after having been convicted under the laws of this state for three felonies or having been convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States of three crimes which if committed within this state would be felonies, commits a felony within this state other than a capital felony must, upon conviction for such fourth offense or for subsequent offenses, serve the maximum time provided in the sentence of the judge based upon such conviction and shall not be eligible for parole until the maximum sentence has been served. (from O.C.G.A. 17 -10-7)

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