Vancouver man convicted of stranger attacks sentenced
D'Shawn Carr received life in prison with a minimum of 15 years
Friday, September 30, 2011
In an apparent surprise to his defense attorney, a Vancouver man convicted of attacking two female strangers asked the judge Friday to sentence him to the highest penalty under law.
“Go ahead and give me the high,” D’Shawn Carr said, interrupting his defense attorney, David Kurtz, when he asked the judge for a lower sentence at the defendant’s sentencing hearing.
“OK, I’ll go with what my client wants -- he wants 184 months,” Kurtz said.
“I truly feel bad for what I’ve done,” Carr said, choking up. “That’s why I’m asking for the high end so I can prove my sincerity.”
Clark County Superior Court Judge Rich Melnick granted his request. He sentenced 22-year-old Carr -- who pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment for attacking the women in Hazel Dell last winter -- to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years.
After 15 years, Carr’s case will go before an Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board, which will decide whether the defendant can be released. If he is freed, he will be under community supervision for the rest of his life.
“Studies show that stranger-to-stranger rapes are the most rare of all crimes,” the judge said. “It’s one of the most heinous crimes. It’s one of the crimes that people fear the most.”
“There’s not many serial rapists, but this sounds like the start of one,” Melnick added, closing the file.
Carr’s accused series of attacks on women was the focus of the sentencing hearing. Fresh out of prison for assaulting a female real estate agent in 2007, Carr was charged last August, but acquitted of, trying to rape a convenience store customer.
Six weeks after his trial, on the evening of Jan. 30, he approached a woman as she was walking home from work along Highway 99 and held a knife to her throat. He ushered her to a nearby used car lot and raped her, said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Scott Jackson.
Three nights later, Carr was caught on surveillance video following a different woman to her car in the parking lot of Winco Foods on Highway 99. He forced her inside the vehicle; she escaped after a Samaritan confronted him, Jackson said.
“He’s a great risk to women if he’s released,” he said.
When it was his turn to speak, Kurtz offered the judge insight into his client’s behavior. He said Carr was extremely intoxicated during the first rape and didn’t remember it.
During the second event, Carr claimed he thought the woman was the girlfriend or wife of a man whom Carr was trying to settle a drug debt with, Kurtz said. When he realized it was a different women, Carr backed away, the defense attorney said.
Alcohol was a factor in both cases, Kurtz said.
While neither attorneys said mental illness played a role, Carr’s family members have contacted The Columbian, saying he suffers from antisocial personality disorder, or a disorder marked by a lack of remorse and aggression toward others.
Carr’s grandma Marcy, who didn’t want her last name used, attended the sentencing and said her family sincerely apologized to the victims.
One of the victims spoke at the sentencing hearing, asking the judge for the highest penalty. She said that since the attack, she’s apprehensive about strangers, constantly looks over her shoulder and is “not even totally at ease in my own home.”
“I can only think of one other incident where my child was in grave danger that’s equaled the effects that this has caused me,” she said.
Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; firstname.lastname@example.org; 360-735-4516.