Archive for Friday, August 21, 2009

Judge sentences Robert Grey to 26 years for rape

Robert Grey wipes away tears as his 26-year sentence is read Friday by District Court Judge Peggy Kittel for a rape he was guilty of committing on May 11, 1997. His attorney, Jessica Travis, is also pictured.

Robert Grey wipes away tears as his 26-year sentence is read Friday by District Court Judge Peggy Kittel for a rape he was guilty of committing on May 11, 1997. His attorney, Jessica Travis, is also pictured.

August 21, 2009


Man sentenced to at least 20 years for rape

A Douglas County judge sentenced a former Lawrence man to more than 20 years in prison for a 1997 rape. Enlarge video

She may not have been present in court, but a rape victim’s letter to a Douglas County District Court judge helped put away her attacker for more than 26 years.

“I was beyond scared, beyond terrified. My life has been changed forever,” wrote the victim, who now lives in Florida. “Please don’t allow this nightmare to happen to another innocent person.”

Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan read the victim’s statement during the sentencing hearing Friday for former Lawrence resident Robert Grey, asking Judge Peggy Kittel to impose the maximum sentence.

A Douglas County jury convicted Grey in May of the 1997 rape.

During the trial, the victim, who was a 20-year-old Kansas University junior at the time, described how Grey kidnapped her at gunpoint from the parking lot of Naismith Hall, drove her to a secluded area near the old tennis courts at Lawrence High School and raped her. Grey could not be charged with aggravated kidnapping because the five-year statute of limitations had run out.

Before the sentencing, Grey’s attorney, Jessica Travis, argued for a new trial, claiming her client was denied his right to a fair trial. Travis went so far as to accuse the state of prosecutorial misconduct, arguing McGowan intentionally withheld information that she was required to turn over to the defense.

Travis’ main complaint had to do with a surprise identification of the defendant by the victim in court during the first day of the trial. The woman had previously never identified Grey in open court.

“There were too many things withheld,” Travis told the judge, “and in the long run, it essentially stripped Mr. Grey of his right to a fair trial.”

But Kittel ruled the evidence in the case was overwhelming and any changes would not have affected the outcome of the trial.

Travis also filed a motion seeking a departure from the standard sentence. While Grey was charged in 2007, he was sentenced under the guidelines that were in place in 1997, when the crime occurred. But Travis argued that the Legislature changed the sentencing guidelines in 1999, which would have reduced the amount of time her client spent in prison. Travis also wanted the judge to use her client’s criminal history from 1997 when determining his sentence, instead of the additional crimes he was convicted of during the 10 years it took the case to go to trial.

Kittel denied the departure motion and sentenced Grey to 316 months in prison, followed by three years of supervision upon his release.

Grey did not speak at the hearing. His family members sobbed as the sentence was announced.

As for the victim, she wrote in her victim impact statement that her recovery is still an ongoing process, something she equated to a scar.

“Time heals all wounds,” she wrote, “but a scar never goes away.”


unknown2u 8 years, 10 months ago

God I knew that guy... my husband was his ex neighbor. So creepy!!!! Jesus I was a teenager then an thot he was mysterious an kinda hot. Scary world, you never really kno any1. Saw the bastard in a cage in Jeff. Co. jail. I'm so glad another piece of garbage is off the streets. I feel terrible for both families.

bigdave 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't know why we need to spend a penny on this guy, just bring him by my house I have a tall tree and a good strong rope!!

somebodynew 8 years, 10 months ago

bigdave - while I shouldn't say this - I would volunteer to be the one who pulls the stool out from under this POS feet.

Brian Conrad 8 years, 10 months ago

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Brian Conrad 8 years, 10 months ago

my heart goes out to victim. we enjoy having all the young students energy in town. do not let this POS destroy their fun. lets all keep a better eye out and report stalkers and violence.

Paula Kissinger 8 years, 10 months ago

To those personally involved in this case…Do not forget it ! Prosecutors, victim, jurors, officers…Keep up on this man's behavior while incarcerated. If he has not conducted himself in a manner conducive to rehabilitation and recovery nor shown actual remorse during his sentence do not allow him to be paroled. Attend all parole hearings and write letters to the parole board if impossible to physically be present at those hearings.

I was involved in such a case 28 years ago and the man we arrested is STILL incarcerated after all of these years because we have been persistent in our promise to keep him away from civilization. He was sentenced, with the maximum sentence doubled because he was a habitual offender, to 30 - life and has come up for parole several times…never achieving it. Remember that a 26 year sentence actually equates to about 6 years in prison.

The justice system is imperfect and there are too many violators set free at parole hearings when there is no contest. After a period of time the victim, with proper counseling, will be able to address this issue and find vindication by participating in the parole hearings. The power taken away from her at the time of the rape will be returned to her when she sees she now has control over her attacker.

And to the victim…you are NOT a victim. You are a survivor. There is an excellent victim's rights team in place to assist in this area. Use it and I wish you the best of life. I have kept in contact with the woman we helped survive such an attack and she has transitioned herself into a strong, fearless, self-confident person. With a little help you can have a wonderful future as well. My best to you.

somebodynew 8 years, 10 months ago

Amen, PitBullGma.

My personal opinion is that this is not the first, nor last, crime like this he committed. Unfortunately, science was not was it is now in 1997, and with no "cold case" type unit to go back and look over old cases we will probably have to rely on the KBI to hopefully come up with answers. But back then was the evidence even collected that will help??

In respose to your last paragraph - from what has been portrayed in the paper about the victim, I think she has done that. And I commend her, and her family for that.

Tom McCune 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't know anything about this person or this case, but I do find it odd that she identified him at this trial but had not done so before. If I had been on the jury, I would have had to think about that one long and hard....

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

If it was the first day of the trial it would have been the first opportunity she had to do so. I would ask the men who post here what they think is going on in a mans mind when he does something like this. As a man what do you think he was thinking and feeling?

georgiahawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Irish, why would I as a man have any idea as what this man is thinking when he does something like this? As a man, I find your question offensive!!!

rusure 8 years, 10 months ago

This man will definetely serve more than six years even with good behavior. You must not know very much about sentencing guidelines or the Kansas Department of Corrections. This guy was penalized more than many others in the State of Kansas depending on the county of conviction. If this guy had committed this rape in Wyandotte County, I doubt he would be serving this long of a sentence.

Alligotleftispride 8 years, 10 months ago

For one if she was a rape victim she should of identifed him long before this trial and most rape victims would like to see the man go infront of judge for sentencing she left and lack of evidence and a fair trial. Judge is female of couse she will have a high sentence. This should go back on retrial makes no sense to me what the victim did all through this trial. And I know this man personally something doesn't add up. Now for 26 years he wont see his child, sorry in my eyes I don't know what to believe since u can get only serve 3-5 if u murder someone now adays and then what was it 4 years ago 14 year old girl got raped by 4 men and all they got was probation? 26 years for something that happend in 1997 law passed 1999 to give less sentencing. Strange case

Ronda Miller 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree that just because one is a man that they wouldn't necessarily know anymore than a woman would what would be going on in this person's brain. We know it isn't about sex, but about power and control. He quite possible had some very bad things happen to him at a formative age (not making excuses - just tends to be the reality).

I hope the victims and their families and friends (and his friends and family who are also victims of this crime) are able to find hope and peace.

Look who's crying now.

Alligotleftispride 8 years, 10 months ago

Sorry to say bless both sides i've seen many trials and he's geting way more years then i've seen a rapist get in awhile that just happend 4-5 years ago...

WhiteDog 8 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know why this is just in court now after a period of 12 years?

afraidnot 8 years, 10 months ago

Didn't we just read about prosecutor McGowan losing a rape case with a victim whose memory suddenly and miraculously improved the week before trial? If this is a common occurance (since it seems to have happened in this case as well), prosecutorial misconduct sounds just about right.

somebodynew 8 years, 10 months ago

OK- what are some of you people NOT getting. She did stay for the entire time of the trial (even though she lives out of state now) and was here for every proceeding that she was able to. She chose not to cross the country for the sentence as there is nothing she could do about whatever the Judge decided. She sent her letter in and expressed her views. What more would you people like - a dramatic, crying, sobbing scene, that does nothing but make good news fodder????

And by the way, she did not have a "miraculously improved" memory, she had actually never seen the guy until the preliminary hearing and no one thought to ask her if she could ID him. Please follow the story and get your facts right.

And "alligotleft..." I am sorry you have lost someone you care about for a few years, but I still think he did a lot more than this one rape.

BlackVelvet 8 years, 10 months ago

"I don't know anything about this person or this case, but I do find it odd that she identified him at this trial but had not done so before. If I had been on the jury, I would have had to think about that one long and hard…."

SHe worked with the Police after the attack and completed a composite drawing of the suspect. When he was idenfied years later with DNA, his photo was a very close match to the composite drawing. I'd say that's a pretty good identification.

inbetweentowns 8 years, 10 months ago

All I know is that 2 families are crushed, one is healing and the other is falling to pieces. Bless his boys, they are my heart and will alway be #1.

CamandAddisonsmommy 8 years, 10 months ago

inbetweentowns I agree with you. Bless his family. BigDave remember that his family does read this you don't have to make comments like that. I know Robert and I think he is a nice guy.

inbetweentowns 8 years, 10 months ago

thanks camandaddisonsmommy, yeah I think peoples opinions are important but most forget to put theirselves in the shoes of the defendants family, and once they do maybe their opinions wouldn't be so harsh for all to read. Especially for a 10 year old who goes to school and gets to hear gossip that his friends parents are saying with no regard that little ears are listening and reading it too. Come on people, just be aware that most parents are not watching their kids get online and what they are reading.

somebodynew 8 years, 10 months ago

truth - I am not questioning everything posted. I know this is a comment board and some people just have different ideas. That being said, I was mainly referring to the posters who commented about her not being here for sentenceing. She stayed for the entire time of the trial, just could not make it back for the sentence phase from where she now leads a sucessful life.

No, I am not him or her, but I know more about this case than I would ever care to, and this convicted offender still bothers me.

I do feel for his family, as they are not the ones who did this crime.

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