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Man gets 20 years for sex offense

January 25, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Whether a 31-year-old woman who was beaten, raped and sodomized by Kenneth Gene Hornbaker in April 2004 was a prostitute didn't matter to the Washington County Circuit judge who sentenced the Mercersburg, Pa., man to 20 years in state prison for the offense Monday.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III sentenced Hornbaker, 36, whose last known address was 25 Oregon St. in Mercersburg, to the maximum sentence allowed under Hornbaker's plea agreement for a December second-degree sex offense conviction. Boone ordered Hornbaker to serve a suspended 10-year consecutive sentence for a December second-degree assault conviction.

In the April 18, 2004, incident, Hornbaker entered pleas that he picked up a 31-year-old woman walking on West Antietam Street who was carrying beer, took her to a remote area on the CSX property off South Burhans Boulevard despite her request to go to another bar, ordered her to undress, and beat, raped and sodomized her with a pool cue before she was able to kick out a car window and run nearly naked nine-tenths of a mile to a pay phone, where she called police, according to charging documents and Washington County Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael.

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During the sentencing hearing, Hornbaker's family friend testified about the defendant's good nature, his lawyer contended that the woman was not an "innocent victim" and the prosecutor highlighted Hornbaker's extensive criminal record.

Hornbaker pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and entered an Alford plea to second-degree sex offense on Dec. 22, 2004.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Hornbaker said Monday, "With God as my witness, the only thing I did to that woman - I hit the girl and I apologize for that. I can't honestly say I did that other stuff 'cause I just don't know," he said.

Hornbaker's attorney, Gordon Lynn, said the victim has a history of making false statements to police officers.

The victim said after the hearing that the allegations that she was a prostitute were not true.

"I just hope the man gets some help for the 20 years he's in there," she said.

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