Just before a jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court began deliberating his fate Friday, a Toledo man charged with the rape and kidnapping of his former girlfriend was offered a deal: plead guilty to two charges and receive a sentence of nine years or less.
Deonte L. Thomas, 29, of the 900 block of Peck Street rejected the prosecutor's offer.
Four hours later, the jury of nine men and three women found Thomas guilty of all four charges: aggravated burglary, felonious assault, kidnapping, and rape. He faces as much as 41 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 25 by Judge Dean Mandros.
During the four-day trial, jurors learned that Thomas and the the 31-year-old victim had been involved in a long-term relationship and had lived together at the victim's Springfield Township mobile home for more than a year when Thomas moved out last December.
The victim admitted on the witness stand that she continued to have an “intimate” relationship with Thomas, but told the jury he had become violent toward her and that she was afraid of him and what he could do to her.
On March 25, after Thomas came to her home, kicked in the door, and assaulted her, she finally called police.
Thomas, who also took the stand in his defense, denied the allegations, saying the two had consensual sex.
Prosecutors painted a different picture.
“He kicked in the door to the home that night, tortured her, strangled her to the point of loss of consciousness, suffocated her,” Jennifer Liptack-Wilson, an assistant county prosecutor, said in her closing argument. “She felt she had to consent to sex with him. That's not a consensual act. She knew if she didn't say yes, he was going to keep going, and she knew that from what happened that night and she knew that from her past interactions. 'If I resisted, it got worse and it would last longer.'”
Defense attorney Meira Zucker told the jury in her closing argument that Thomas was cheating on the victim and cheating on the other woman he was seeing.
“Deonte Thomas is a cheater, playing with hearts. He's not debating that,” Ms. Zucker said, adding that both women knew about the other but neither gave him up. Both continued to vie for his attention, she said.
The victim testified that she loved Thomas and hoped he would change.
She recounted that even after the March 25 incident, she didn't immediately think about calling police. Later that day, she said, she decided things could only get worse and called 911 to report that her ex-boyfriend had assaulted her.
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