(Memphis) “Before I knew it, there was a bag placed over my head. They forced me into a car,” said 28-year-old LaShay, a rape victim.
It is still hard for her to talk about Oct. 4, 2002, the day three men abducted her outside Trezevant High School, drove her away, and repeatedly raped her.
“I can remember, it was rough,” she said.
After she was released, LaShay got help at the Rape Crisis Center, where they took DNA samples from her body.
“You are laid out on a table. Put your feet in stirrups. You are there forever. It’s not fun,” she said.
She didn’t know that nothing was done with the samples for two years, as her rapists walked free.
“I really thought they were gonna get on their game, find the guys and put them away,” said LaShay.
In 2004, the TBI got a grant to test a backlog of rape kits.
One of the kits tested was LaShays.
The results eventually led police to Jerald Jefferson.
In jail for another crime in 2010, Jefferson’s DNA matched that found on LaShay.
He was charged with rape and went to trial last week.
It took the jury just 37 minutes to convict him.
“I was shocked,” said LaShay.
She said it proves rape kits can be the missing link and give justice to victims who have lost much more.
“I think it’s a shame. Every rape, whether you are 5 or 50, should be the number one priority and it needs to be taken seriously.”
One other suspect in Lashay’s case is already in jail serving life for another crime.
The third suspect has still not been caught.
LaShay said immediate testing of rape kits might be able to catch criminals like these before they attack again.