Local News

Man recently released from prison faces new rape charges

Posted May 26, 2009 7:18 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2009 9:01 a.m. EDT

— A Raleigh man, who served time for rape and was released from prison three months ago, is facing new rape charges.  The crimes have some people asking why a registered sex offender, with several felony rape convictions, was allowed to return to the streets.

Raleigh police arrested Travis Gillis, 43, of 1420 S. Wilmington St., Friday night and charged him with kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and rape. He was being held in Central Prison on a $3 million bond. He appeared in court Tuesday afternoon.

Police said he recently raped three prostitutes in abandoned homes and wooded areas, and then tried to strangle them. According to court records, Gillis has a long history of sexual assault.

“First-degree forcible rape, strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping,” District Judge James Fullwood said of Gillis' prior charges.

According to state Department of Correction records, Gillis was released from prison in early February after serving less than 15 years of a 40-year sentence for attempted second-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree sexual offense. His parole ended May 8.

“That was very common for crimes that were committed prior to 1994 under the state's old fair sentencing laws,” Keith Acree, DOC's director of public affairs, said. “You earned a day off your sentence for every day you served in prison with good behavior, so off the top that pretty much served to cut your sentence in half."

Those crimes for which he was serving time occurred on July 1, 1993. DOC records show that Gillis had been released from prison June 11, 1993, after serving 3½ years for second-degree rape and a probation revocation. The probation stemmed from a conviction for attempted second-degree rape in August 1988, according to DOC records.

However, since 1994, the state has operated under structured sentencing. Prisoners get a minimum and maximum sentence, and they must serve all of that minimum time.

For Gillis, the change in law means, “if you're found guilty you have the possibility of spending the rest of your life in prison,” Fullwood said.

Gillis was being held Tuesday at the Wake County Jail under a $3 million bond. His first court date was set for June 15.