Judge outraged by untested rape kits delaying justice - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge outraged by untested rape kits delaying justice

Jerald Jefferson was convicted of rape in December; the crime took place in 2002. Jerald Jefferson was convicted of rape in December; the crime took place in 2002.
The then 16-year-old victim was taken from Trezevant High School, driven around town, and repeatedly raped. Now 28, the victim finally received justice in Coffee's courtroom. The then 16-year-old victim was taken from Trezevant High School, driven around town, and repeatedly raped. Now 28, the victim finally received justice in Coffee's courtroom.

(WMC-TV) - A judge sentenced a convicted rapist to 25 years in prison, but Lee Coffee believes the maximum sentence cheats the justice deserved.

"This is what Mr. Jefferson did to a child: He took innocence from a child. He had this lady suffer for 12 years before she was able to come to court and to get justice," said Judge Coffee. "Unfortunately, this is one of these cases where a rape kit sat for a number of years."

Jerald Jefferson was convicted of rape in December; the crime took place in 2002.

"It was during school," recalled the rape victim who asked to remain unidentified. "I remember, it was rough."

The then 16-year-old victim was taken from Trezevant High School, driven around town, and repeatedly raped. Now 28, the victim finally received justice in Coffee's courtroom.

In addition to the sentencing, Coffee also called out for police and elected leaders to fund some of the 12,000 untested rape kits in Memphis.

"Hopefully at some point we'll find the resource, we'll find the manpower, we'll find the commitment so that people like [aforementioned unidentified victim] are not abducted, raped at the age of 16 years and wait 11 years for the case to come to court," said Coffee. "People like Mr. Jefferson that committed rapes in 2002, that continue to run the streets of Shelby County, Tennessee putting other innocent folks at risk. "

Memphis police and city leaders announced plans to spend at least $5 million dollars to test all the rape kits in the coming years.

The victim in this case says she feels for other victims whose rape kits sit untested, but she insists they do not give up.

"Keep your head up and keep fighting. Don't let a year go by. Just keep pushing the issue because eventually you're going to be heard," she said.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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