A 42-year-old New Jersey man has been found guilty of targeting couples staying at motels along Routes 1 and 9 and forcing them to have sex at gunpoint. Rasheed Powell didn't stop there, prosecutors say he also forced the couples to hand over their belongings during the terrifying encounters.
A jury found Powell guilty of all 60 crimes he was charged with ranging from several counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and burglary, robbery, and weapons charges. Union County Prosecutor's Office issued a press release Tuesday stating the jury found him guilty on Friday of all 60 counts against him after an eight-week trial.
It took the jury three and a half days of deliberation to find Powell guilty and he faces up to life in prison at his sentencing which is scheduled for May 4. The terrifying crime spree took place between March and April in 2012 at the Swan and the Benedict motels in Linden, New Jersey. Prosecutors say Powell would stalk couples as they entered their rooms and when they opened the door he would force his way inside.
Once inside the couple's rooms, he would force them to perform sexual acts on each other at gunpoint as he watched. Then, Powell would lock the man in the bathroom and sexually assault the woman. Investigators used DNA and other forensic evidence to identify Powell and convict him at his trial.
Powell was arrested on April 16, 2012, when he showed up to Springfield Municipal Court for a traffic summons. A total of eight victims testified at his trial along with the detectives who worked the case. Prosecutor Michael Monahan said, "The victims demonstrated great courage and fortitude in reliving these awful events through their painful testimony."
The jury's verdict covers four of six incidents involving the sexual assault of couples at motels. Powell will face justice for the other two incidents at a future trial. He is currently held on $3 million bail in state prison.
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