Local News

Man pleads guilty to repeatedly raping Raleigh woman

Posted October 10, 2011 11:12 a.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2011 8:50 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced a Smithfield man to more than 32 years in prison for breaking into a 22-year-old woman's apartment and raping her several times.

Mitchell Dean Morrison, 26, of 4163 N.C. Highway 210, pleaded guilty in Wake County Superior Court to three counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense, as well as one count of first-degree burglary.

Judge Howard Manning sentenced Morrison to 240 to 297 months on the rape charges. Morrison was also sentenced to a minimum of 150 to 189 months for the sex offense and burglary charges – that sentence begins at the end of the first.

"There's nothing about this situation that has anything positive about it at all," Manning said during his ruling.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita told Manning that the woman woke up in the early hours of Oct. 25 to find Morrison standing in her bedroom holding a kitchen knife and that he repeatedly punched and slapped her, cut her throat, bit her and forced her to have sex with him over the next six hours.

"She was doing whatever she had to do to keep herself alive," Shekita said.

That included pretending to like him.

"He said she was too beautiful to kill," Shekita added. "He told her he loved her."

Eventually, the victim convinced Morrison to let her go to the bathroom, which is when she ran into her roommate's room and called 911. Her roommate held Morrison at gunpoint until police arrived.

Shekita said Morrison and the woman met briefly once through an acquaintance but that she did not know him.

"I've seen his face every day since Oct. 24," the woman said in court Monday. "He took everything away from me. He haunts me to this day."

The woman said the experience has ruined her relationships with others, that she has nightmares and that she wanted to kill herself after the attack.

She has sought counseling and is trying to move on with her life.

"I can't be a normal 23-year-old girl anymore," she said. "I fear everyone."

Defense attorney Bill Finn said Morrison was ashamed by what he did. A victim of child sex abuse by his mother, he pleaded guilty because he knew what it was like to testify and he wanted help the victim move on with her life.

"I know no words will ever right this wrong. Every day I pray that God will forgive me. I pray that she will find peace," Morrison, a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, addressed to the court. "Nobody should have had to go though what she did. It was not right. It should have never happened. I'm so sorry for the life I took away from her."