(Memphis) It took more than ten years, but Jerald Jefferson finally faced a judge to learn his punishment for raping a teenage girl at Trezevant High School in 2002.
He was sentenced to 25 years.
It took what may have seemed like a lifetime for his victim to hear those words.
In court, Judge Lee Coffee lashed out at Jefferson and the system that allowed him to remain free.
“He had this lady suffer for 12 years before she was finally able to come to court and get justice,” the Judge said in court Wednesday.
Jefferson’s victim submitted to a rape kit test after her attack, but the test results sat on a shelf for two years.
In 2010, Jefferson’s DNA was submitted when he was arrested for aggravated assault and a match was made.
Judge Coffee didn’t mince words.
“It is unconscionable that people like (the victim) are forced to carry a decades long of pain of sorrow of grief when we have evidence sitting somewhere that could have been tested a long time ago and Mr. Jefferson could have been arrested a long time ago.
I encourage the Memphis Police Department and the city to find the funding so (victims) will not have to be tortured for a decade or longer waiting on justice,” said Judge Coffee.
It isn’t clear testing the kit earlier would make a difference since Jefferson’s DNA wasn’t in the system until 2010.
Jerald Jefferson’s sentence means justice finally for his victim, who talked about the importance of rape kit testing in an interview with WREG last month.
“I think it’s a shame. Every rape, whether you are 5 or 50 should be #1 priority and it needs to be taken seriously,” said Jefferson’s rape victim.
Jerald Jefferson will be back in court February 20, 2014, when his lawyer is expected to seek a new trial.