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Published: Friday, 4/26/2002

Rapist shows unruly side in court

After hearing he will spend the next 25 years in prison, a distraught Mark Lee Hooker yesterday turned to sheriff's deputies and demanded to be taken from the courtroom.

“Take me back. You all just take me back,” said Hooker, wanting to return to the Lucas County Jail.

After demanding several more times to leave the Common Pleas courtroom, Hooker, 28, of Putnam Street, took several steps away from his attorney, Donald Cameron. Deputies detained Hooker and stood nearby for the rest of the hearing.

Judge Ruth Ann Franks imposed two consecutive, 10-year maximum sentences for two counts of rape and five more years for trying to escape from the jail.

The judge also determined that Hooker is a sexual predator, and he must report his address to the sheriff's office every 90 days for the remainder of his life when he gets out of prison. The sexual classification, which is required for anyone convicted of rape and other sex-related offenses, caused another emotional outburst from Hooker.

“What difference does it make. I might not live long enough to get back out,” he said.

Hooker was released from prison on parole in March, 2000, after serving 7 1/2 years of a 10-to-15-year sentence for felonious assault and three years for a gun specification. He could be ordered to serve the rest of that sentence.

Hooker, originally indicted on 10 charges, was accused of sexual attacks on the two women, another woman, and a 16-year-old Scott High School student who was walking to school.

Two rape charges and six other charges, including kidnapping and aggravated burglary related to the attacks, were dropped pursuant to a plea agreement.

Rather than proceed to trial on all the charges and face a possible longer sentence, Hooker entered an Alford plea, a type of plea in which he does not admit to committing the crimes.

Prosecutors dismissed charges of vandalism and possessing criminal tools that were part of a later indictment for trying to escape from the jail in November. Mike Narges, an assistant prosecutor, said Hooker told other inmates that he planned to escape. A hammer and screwdriver were found in Hooker's cell and the window in his cell was knocked out.

In sentencing Hooker, Judge Franks noted that as a juvenile he was adjudicated on five different charges, including burglary, retaining stolen property, and escape. The judge also took into account Hooker's felonious assault conviction in 1992 for shooting his mother's boyfriend.

The victims in the two rape cases that resulted in Hooker's conviction sent letters to Judge Franks describing the impact the attacks have had on their lives. Neither victim wanted to speak yesterday.

Judge Franks said the attacks, which occurred nine days apart in October, had strikingly similar characteristics.

In both attacks, Hooker burglarized the victim's residences and attacked the women while they were sleeping on couches. The victims, ages 24 and 31, struggled with Hooker and fought off his advances.

One of the victims was held at knifepoint and tied to the bed while she was raped repeatedly. In the other assault, Hooker sexually assaulted the woman and warned: “I'll be back,” the judge said.

Joan Coleman, executive director of the Lucas County Victim Witness Assistance Program, said the victims are suffering from the effects of the assaults and are receiving counseling. “They also have a great deal of family support,” she said.

Dean Mandross, head of the prosecutor office's criminal division, said Hooker is a serial rapist because of the frequency of the sexual assaults.

“He did a series of rapes and he needs to be separated from the rest of society for as long as possible. We are pleased that the court recognized the seriousness of his conduct,” Mr. Mandross said.



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