A judge ruled Thursday that an 18-year-old Wichita man will stand trial as an adult in the rape of a 76-year-old woman that prosecutors said he committed when he was 17.
District Judge Joseph Bribiesca issued his ruling after listening to a half-dozen witnesses who testified on behalf of the defendant, Marquatesz Redmon.
Redmon was one of two suspects who were arrested after two intruders broke into the woman’s home near Lincoln and George Washington Boulevard on June 7 and took two flat-screen television sets, jewelry and $3 in cash. The woman testified at a hearing in August that her rapist held a gun to her head and threatened to come back and kill her if she called police. She was unable to identify her attacker.
Wichita police said Redmon and John Edward Thompson, 18, were arrested a few blocks away at a home in the 2400 block of East Mesita where some of the woman’s jewelry was found. Thompson, who is now 19, is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail while awaiting trial.
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Police said the two suspects gave conflicting statements about the crime – each claiming to have acted as a lookout while the other collected property and committed the rape. Testimony at the August hearing, however, showed that the woman’s DNA was on Redmon’s underwear when he was arrested.
“The evidence is pretty clear from the DNA that Mr. Redmon was the principal, and Mr. Thompson was the aider and abetter,” Assistant District Attorney Angela Wilson told before Bribiesca before he made his ruling.
Wilson said the nature of the crime was one of several factors that Bribiesca should consider when deciding whether to move the case from juvenile to adult court.
“Other than homicide, there is no more serious offense than the one this respondent has committed,” she said. “This was an extremely aggressive, violent, willful rape.”
She also noted Redmon’s juvenile court convictions for aggravated assault, attempted robbery and theft.
Defense lawyer Nicholas Means urged Bribiesca to keep the case in the juvenile system despite Redmon’s criminal history.
“He does not deny that, and we’re not denying it now,” he said. “There are still facilities and programs in the juvenile system that Mr. Redmon can make use of.”
Among the witnesses that Means called to the stand was David Gilkey, who said he met Redmon while running a mentoring program at Wichita West High.
“He was a great young man,” Gilkey said. “I never had a problem with him.”
Heath Henderson, a conditioning coach at West High, agreed.
“He came to practice on time and worked hard when he was there,” he said. “I never had any issues with him.”
West High athletic director Phil Daignault said he coached Redmon when he was on the school’s junior varsity basketball team.
“He worked hard, didn’t talk back, did what was expected of him,” he said. “We had high expectations of him.”
Daignault conceded that he heard that Redmon was hanging around with the wrong crowd when away from school.
“I do know that when he would get in trouble, it was not under our supervision,” he said.
Bribiesca noted in his ruling that Redmon’s witnesses only knew how he behaved in a structured setting, and that they were not familiar with his criminal past