The Geneva man accused of kidnapping and raping a 23-year-old woman after carjacking her finance’s truck at a convenient store pleaded guilty Friday, Ashtabula County Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Draper said.
Eugene C. Falls, 37, of 125 Austin Road, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape, both first-degree felonies, in exchange for dismissing additional felony charges, she said.
Ashtabula County Common Pleas Judge Gary Yost, who presided over the hearing, sentenced Falls to 10 years in prison.
Police said Falls jumped into the driver’s seat of the truck while the woman’s finance’ was inside the Lake Avenue Circle K in the Ashtabula Harbor. She was in the passenger seat and fought Falls, but he pinned her down and threatened to kill her, saying he had a gun, according to testimony at the pretrial and police reports.
Ashtabula police officers searched most of that night (Feb. 2, 2013) for the truck, and found the vehicle two hours later at Interstate 90 and Route 11 in Ashtabula Township. Falls led police on a high-speed chase that ended in the area of East 51st Street in Ashtabula.
Falls bailed out of the vehicle and was arrested after a short foot chase.
The woman was taken to the hospital, traumatized from the event, police said.
When asked to comment on Fall’s 10-year sentence, Draper said the maximum time Falls could have served was 11 years because the Court of Appeals decided rape and kidnapping “merge” so the sentences can’t be stacked. The court ruled rape and kidnapping are a continuing course of conduct, she said.
“The victim wasn’t happy with the sentence, but she understood the limitations,” Draper said.
Since Falls was arrested in February, he has been held at the Ashtabula County jail on a $328,075 bond, according to jail records. Now, he will be transferred to a state prison.
By Shelley Terry - Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)
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