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MAN CONVICTED OF RAPE, COULD GET LIFE IN PRISON

Oct. 18, 2001 – Jurors on Thursday found a Kenyan-born man living on St. Thomas guilty of first-degree assault, unlawful sexual contact and two counts of first-degree rape in connection with an attack on a woman at the East End of the island in August 2000.
The verdict came at the end of the three-day trial of Swaleh Muiruri, who was charged with 10 counts in connection with the Aug. 8, 2000 attack at Vessup Beach and along a road toward Cabrita Point. The jury found him guilty of four of the charges, but not guilty of other charges including kidnapping and two other rape charges in connection with the attack.
Muiruri could receive up to life in prison after the jury found him guilty of the rape and assault charges. Territorial Court Judge Rhys Hodge will sentence him after completion of a pre-sentence investigation.
The victim testified this week that she was walking along the Red Hook Road in the early morning hours after she had an argument with her husband at a Red Hook saloon. Muiruri drove up and asked if she needed a ride, and after she said no several times, he returned and told her to get in the car or he would shoot her.
He then took the woman to Vessup Beach, where she said he raped her after a struggle. He later drove her to a small road leading off of the main road to Cabrita Point, where she said he raped her three more times.
Muiruri testified that he and the woman had consensual sex, but medical evidence showed the woman had severe bruising and abrasions that corroborated her account. Several other people testified that the woman was distraught and disheveled when she reported the attack immediately after Muiruri dropped her off in the Cowpet Bay area.
The woman got Muiruri’s license plate number, which led police to question him in the days following the attack. He fled the jurisdiction immediately after the initial interviews, but the FBI found him in New Mexico, and he was extradited back to the territory in December.

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