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Man sentenced in W.Va. rape case

August 10, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - More than eight months after a jury convicted him of raping a 15-year-old girl, Jason Caton was sentenced Monday to serve 20 to 50 years in prison.

Caton, 24, of Martinsburg, did not show any visible reaction as the sentence was announced. A jury found him guilty in November 2003 of raping the girl in February 2002.

Caton still is set to face charges related to the rapes of two other young women. One trial is scheduled to begin next month, while a trial date has not yet been set in the third case, said Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely.

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During the sentencing hearing Monday afternoon before Circuit Judge David Sanders, Caton chose not to make a statement. Nobody spoke on his behalf, although his attorney, William DeHaven, made a brief motion for a new trial.

Sanders denied the motion.

The victim sat with her parents in the courtroom's front row but also did not speak. The victim has expressed her feelings to a probation officer, Games-Neely said in court, asking that Caton's two sentences run concurrently. Caton was convicted of two counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Sanders said the crime was of "a highly aggravated nature" and that Caton poses "a great risk to public safety."

Although Sanders sentenced Caton to two 10- to 25-year prison terms, he ordered that they run consecutively, meaning the sentence is in essence a 20- to 50-year one, he said.

After the sentence was announced, Games-Neely turned around in her chair and smiled at the victim and her parents.

The Morning Herald is not publishing the name of the victim because of its policy of not identifying victims of sex crimes.

Caton was returned to Eastern Regional Jail, where he is being held without bail.

The other charges are connected to the Aug. 30, 2001, rape of a 12-year-old girl and to an April 20, 2002, incident in which a woman in her early 20s alleged that Caton made her perform sexual acts on him.

All three young women testified during the trial last November.

Lt. Brent Myers, supervisor of the West Virginia State Police laboratory's biochemistry section, testified during the trial that semen was found on the 15-year-old's underwear. The semen had to come from Caton or, if he had one, his identical twin brother, Myers said. The chance of it coming from someone else was one in 11.2 quadrillion, he said.

Caton's DNA also was found on evidence connected with the other two young women, Myers testified.

The 15-year-old testified at Caton's trial that she was walking along Cemetery Road around midnight when Caton pulled over in a car and offered her a ride. After she declined he left, but returned later on foot.

He grabbed her belt loop and arm and dragged her off the road to a slightly wooded area, she testified. She said he pushed her to the ground, performed oral sex on her and then raped her.

One of the sexual assault counts stemmed from the oral sex, while the other stemmed from intercourse.

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