Man convicted in 1996 rape of girl, 9, sentenced to 20 years

Saturday, July 19, 2008 | 5:58 p.m. CDT; updated 2:37 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man convicted of raping a 9-year-old in 1996 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jackson County Circuit Judge William Kramer imposed the sentence on Dwayne C. Jones, 47, on Friday after convicting him in April in a bench trial on four counts of rape and sodomy.

The victim’s mother and sister addressed the court, saying the victim could not face her attacker, even 12 years after the assault. Jones grabbed the girl off of a Kansas City street on Jan. 26, 1996.

“My sister was such a bright, smart, happy kid, and after this just closed up,” the victim’s sister told Kramer. “My sister isn’t the same anymore, and that’s not right.”

The victim’s mother requested a life sentence, though she said that wasn’t enough.

“Her life is dead now,” she said. “She’s not at peace.”

Prosecutors linked the crime to Jones last year after matching his DNA with evidence found in the victim’s clothing.

Jones, addressing the court, asked for forgiveness from the victim, her family and his own family.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I hurt a precious child. I was not thinking of what I did. I continue to pray that God will heal her from the inside out.”

Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar urged Kramer to impose four consecutive life sentences.

“We can give her at least that solace, and perhaps she can live a better life,” Kanatzar said.

But Jones’ defense attorney, Bruce Simon, said such a sentence would be overkill, asking the judge to consider Jones’ age and his “heartfelt and genuine” statement.

“Mr. Jones stands before the court as a ... man who has put his misbehaving behind him,” Simon said.

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