A serial rapist who committed two forcible rapes within six weeks was convicted by a Platte County jury Friday following a week-long trial.
A jury found Stephen J. Lockhart, 22, of Kansas City, guilty of forcible rape and first-degree assault, and recommended a combined 137 years in prison.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said Lockhart savagely beat and sexually assaulted two women in less than two months.
"He is a very dangerous man and deserves every day behind bars this jury recommended," Zahnd said in a written statement.
According to the evidence presented at trial, a woman was sitting outside her apartment in the 3700 block of North Walrond about 12:30 a.m. April 30, 2011 when she was approached by Lockhart.
The woman said Lockhart grabbed her and forced her into his silver Ford Mustang. He told her he would "snap her neck" if she tried to get out.
She testified that Lockhart drove her to various locations around Kansas City and then took her to a secluded area north of Tiffany Springs Park on North Hampton in Platte County. She also said that Lockhart got out of the car, went to the passenger side, and raped her. Lockhart told the woman, "if you keep crying, I will kill you."
The woman testified Lockhart then raped her again. Lockhart then wrapped a belt around her neck and dragged her out of the car. Lockhart choked the woman with his belt and stomped on her face while pulling on the belt, strangling her.
The woman recalled being in and out of consciousness. When she regained consciousness, she heard Lockhart leaving in his vehicle. Once she was sure Lockhart was gone, she got up and walked approximately two miles naked and in the dark until she found a house near North Hampton.
The woman was able to identify Lockhart and his vehicle, and he was later arrested.
The woman's DNA was found in the suspect's car and a shoe print on the victim's face had similar features to those worn by the defendant.
During the sentencing phase of the trial, another woman testified Lockhart picked her up near Harrah's Casino in March 2011. She testified that Lockhart drove her to the same area north of Tiffany Springs Park and North Brightwell, where he assaulted and raped her.
"Both of these young women showed tremendous courage in coming forward to confront their attacker. The jury was persuaded by their horrifying and emotional testimony, and the jurors deserve the community's thanks for ensuring that a dangerous serial rapist will likely spend the rest of his life in prison," Zahnd said.
Lockhart will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence, which will be determined by a judge during a Nov. 8 sentencing hearing. Zahnd said his office would ask the judge to sentence Lockhart to the full 137 years in prison.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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