ROCKLAND, Maine — A man who spent more than two decades in prison for kidnapping and sex crimes likely will spend the rest of his life there after being convicted Friday of the knife-point rape of a Camden woman a year ago.
A Knox County Superior Court jury of nine women and three men deliberated for just over four hours Friday afternoon before finding ex-convict Bradley Lemay, 45, of Augusta guilty of gross sexual assault and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon at the victim’s home on June 8, 2010. Lemay also was found guilty of eluding police officers during a 100-mph high-speed chase when they attempted to arrest him that day, for attempting to escape from the Knox County Jail while awaiting trial, and for tampering with a victim for sending a letter from jail to a relative asking him to threaten the victim not to testify.
Lemay was found not guilty of burglary, aggravated assault and aggravated criminal trespass, charges that also stemmed from the Camden assault.
Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said Lemay’s sentencing likely would take place by the end of the month. Defense attorney Christopher MacLean said Lemay was facing up to 50 years in prison. Lemay, who was wearing a gray suit coat, blue pinstriped shirt and blue tie, showed no emotion when the jury foreman read the verdict.
The not-guilty verdicts may have stemmed from MacLean’s contention that that the victim gave conflicting testimony about some aspects of the assault, including whether she opened the door to Lemay’s knock that night and whether he struck her in the face before raping her or during the sexual assault. She told police that Lemay forced his way into her home, though a nurse testified that she told her Lemay knocked on her door. She testified that Lemay punched her before assaulting her, but indicated in a police interview that the punch could have happened while they were in bed together.
Lemay, who did not testify in court, told police in his arrest interview that the woman invited him into her home and that he gave her a black eye when she went into some sort of trance while they were having consensual sex. He acknowledged carrying a knife when he was at the victim’s home but insisted that the only time he brandished it was when he removed his clothes in the victim’s bedroom.
Lemay was released from Maine State Prison four months before the Camden assault after having served 21 years for kidnapping and sexual assault in York County.
Lemay came in contact with the Camden victim while landscaping her grounds during the weeks leading up to the assault.
The victim testified Tuesday that she feared for her life during the four-hour ordeal and that she offered no resistance to her attacker. She acknowledged joking and making small talk with Lemay because she feared he would kill her. Lemay had told her about his prison record and bragged at one point during the assault that he had killed before and was willing to kill again, she testified.
“Her survival instincts were taking over,” Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald told the jury in his closing argument Friday morning. “She just let the defendant do what he wanted to do for several hours.”
Defense attorney MacLean suggested in his argument that the woman’s willingness to go along with Lemay’s desires indicated that the sex was consensual. He said it was only after she learned of Lemay’s violent past that she grew scared and cried rape. MacLean described the victim as “a proven liar” who decided to call police only after her “imagination ran wild” about Lemay’s past history of violence. MacLean noted that Lemay even accompanied the woman when she went to walk her dog that night and that the animal later licked his face while he lay in the victim’s bed.
“Is that consistent with a brutal knife-rape in a home?” MacLean asked.
Fernald countered that the victim’s behavior was consistent with that of a person confronted with an admittedly violent person. He said the inconsistencies in her testimony and statements were “consistent with someone who has been through a traumatic event.”
“The fact of the matter is that she was raped by knife-point,” Fernald said. If Lemay was innocent, he added, why did he flee from the police when they tried to pull his car over, why did he attempt a jail break by scaling a barbed-wire fence, and why did he write a letter instructing his relative to tell the victim she “was being watched all the time” and that the police would not “always be there to help her.”
After the verdict, Lemay was taken in chains back to the Maine State Prison where he has been held in custody since his attempted escape from the county jail. He is being held without bail.