Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A man who pleaded guilty to breaking into a Talmadge woman’s home last year and raping her was sentenced Thursday to 43 years to life in state prison.

Leonard Derrick, 44, pleaded guilty earlier this year to forcible rape, assault, dissuading a witness, vehicle theft and burglary for the March 22, 2019, attack.

At Derrick’s sentencing hearing, the victim, identified in court only as Ms. H, repeatedly asked Derrick why he committed the rape.

“He destroyed my life,” she said in a statement to the court, in which she urged that he never be freed from custody to commit a similar act on another person.

Prosecutors say he broke into her home in the 4400 block of 50th Street, threatened to kill her, then assaulted her. After the rape, he stole her car, dumped it not far from the crime scene and took cash, jewelry and other items from the vehicle, according to Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto.

After Derrick fled the scene, the victim exited the home through her bathroom window and alerted a neighbor to what happened, as Derrick had taken her cell phone.

DNA evidence gathered during the victim’s sexual assault exam identified Derrick as the perpetrator, leading to his arrest about a week later during a traffic stop, Coto said. His DNA was on file for a 1999 conviction for robbery with a gun.

Just days before he was arrested, internet searches on Derrick’s phone indicated he searched, “How long does it take for a rape kit result to come in?” according to the prosecutor.

–City News Service

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