A man on trial on several charges stemming from rapes in 2002 and 2003 was found guilty on July 15 by a jury.
Sylvester Antonio Ray received five consecutive life sentences after being convicted of rape, aggravated assault, aggravated sodomy and kidnapping with bodily injury.
“These were violent, malicious, depraved acts,” DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.
Ray was accused of raping four female victims in DeKalb County during a nine-month period. Some victims were also kidnapped, sodomized and robbed at gunpoint, according to court documents.
The case was considered a “cold case” until DNA evidence linked Ray to the attacks.
During the trial Ray testified in his defense that in each case, the incidents were consensual sex.
“I used no force on her and that night I did not have a weapon,” Ray testified about each rape charge.
Under cross examination by Patricia Jackson, deputy chief assistant district attorney, Ray, who was engaged at the time of the alleged rapes, said that he did not patrol bars looking for sexual encounters.
“That situation was made available to me,” Ray said of an encounter with one victim. “I didn’t initiate that. We were attracted to one another.”
“Everybody just voluntarily meets you, likes you, wants to have sex, go to places with you and they don’t know you,” Jackson asked Ray during cross-examination. “That happens to you on the regular? Yes or no?”
“Not in so many words, but yes,” Ray said.
In his closing argument, Ray’s defense attorney Juwayn Haddad said Ray had “three different interactions with three different women where they had consensual sex.”
“All that the DNA means is that there was sex,” Haddad told the jury. “The question for you was it consensual or was it not.”
James showed the jury a police picture of a victim’s underwear and blood from a cut found at the scene of one alleged rape.
“Every one of these women sat up here and said ‘he did it, he did it, he did it,’” James said.
“Her blood was real and it’s crying out to you from the ground, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s crying out for justice,” James said.
“Either it’s rape or it’s fake,” James said. “Either you believe the survivors or you’re going to believe Sylvester Antonio Ray, superstud.”
In sentencing Ray, Superior Court Judge Linda Hunter said, “The victims have eloquently spoken during the trial. Their voices have been heard.
“These were the types of rape that I haven’t seen in a long time,” Hunter said.
Hunter called the crimes “heinous.”
“These were stranger-on-stranger attacks,” Hunter said. “These women were going about their business and were literally snatched off the streets.
“Some of these victims have had to leave town [and] try to start their life all over again,” Hunter told Ray. “You took more from these women than their dignity.”