Thursday, December 18, 2014

Former truck driver sentenced to 33 years in cold case

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 3/12/2013

A 53-year-old former truck driver who was found guilty in October of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Ottawa was sentenced Tuesday to more than 33 years in state prison on five charges in connection with the February 2000 attack.

Franklin County District Judge Eric W. Godderz imposed the standard sentence for each of the five charges in the case against Ralph E. Corey, but he ordered the sentences to run consecutively — not concurrently — because of the calculated nature of the crime and the fact Corey did not stop the attack when he had the opportunity to do so on more than one occasion, the judge said.

Godderz sentenced Corey to 272 months for one count of aggravated kidnapping, 59 months for one count of attempted rape, 32 months for one count of aggravated sexual assault, 32 months for a second count of aggravated sexual assault and six months for one count of making a criminal threat.

The five counts add up to 401 months, or 33.4 years in prison. Godderz said Corey could receive up to a 15 percent credit on the sentence for good behavior in prison. Corey will be in his 80s before any chance of his release. The judge told Corey he had the right to appeal both the conviction and the sentence.  

Stephen A. Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said he was pleased with the outcome of the sentencing and said that justice had been served in this cold case.

On Oct. 22, a jury convicted Corey of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Walmart Supercenter cashier on the night of Feb. 19, 2000, as she prepared to leave the employee parking lot on the north side of the building at 2101 S. Princeton St., Ottawa. Corey was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of aggravated kidnapping, one count of attempted rape and one count of making a criminal threat in connection with the incident.

The case had gone cold until DNA retrieved from the crime scene matched Corey’s DNA in a national database system as he was about to be released from an Arizona penitentiary on counterfeiting charges Nov. 8, 2010. Corey was arrested by Ottawa police officers June 17, 2011, and transported to the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., where he has remained for the past 21 months.

For more coverage from the sentencing hearing, including the victim’s statement about how the attack had affected her life, see Thursday’s edition of The Herald.

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