Clark man convicted of rape, kidnapping

A jury took little more than an hour before convicting a Clark County man of raping, kidnapping and terrorizing a woman nearly two years ago.

Jeffrey Rowland, 51, of 460 Lisletown Lane, was found guilty of first-degree rape and kidnapping Tuesday in Clark Circuit Court.  The jury of 10 men and two women spent 70 minutes before returning with their verdict following a two-day trial

After the verdict came back, Rowland agreed to serve 10 years on each charge, accepting an offer from prosecutors. The sentences will run concurrently for a total of 20 years. Rowland also agreed to waive any post-trial appeals.

Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue said Rowland would have to serve 85 percent of the sentence for rape conviction as a violent offender. Rowland’s attorney Valetta Browne argued it did not qualify as a violent offense, as there was no mention of that in the jury instructions.

Rowland will be sentenced on July 19 after a required sex offender evaluation is completed.

Rowland was arrested in Lexington on Aug. 4, 2016, hours after he tied the woman down at their home, raped her, cut her clothes off her and waterboarded her because he believed she was cheating on him.

The incident came to light that morning when the victim told employees at Love’s Truck Stop on Kentucky 627 in Madison County that she was being held against her will. Employees called 911 and reported they left the business in a gray car and gave dispatchers the license plate number.

Kentucky State Police detectives and other law enforcement found the woman outside the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington and arrested Rowland.

The female victim said Rowland cut her clothes off her with a large kitchen knife and tortured her as Rowland accused her of having an affair with someone else. Prosecutors said Rowland blindfolded and waterboarded the woman, blocking her nose and mouth while pouring water over her face to make her feel like she was drowning.

The woman said she finally made up a name so the violence would stop, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Johnson said in his closing argument.

“She thought there’s only one way I can live,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to tell hime something. She gave him a name, said she worked with him.”

Then, Johnson said, the physical violence ended but Rowland pulled the woman into her son’s room and made her admit to the “affair.”

The woman was later taken to the hospital, after telling detectives that afternoon that she had been raped. The report noted ligature marks on her wrists and legs and evidence of sexual intercourse.

Browne said the victim’s medical exam found no evidence of injuries consistent with rape, but there were burst capillaries that indicated vigorous intercourse. The woman, though, did not tell detectives about intercourse until hours after the incident was reported and after police interviewed Rowland, Browne said.

“These are black and white findings of no rape,” Browne said, referring to an enlarged copy of the examination report.

Johnson countered that the report showed evidence of deep penetration and trauma.

“She’s terrified. Can’t move. Her hands are going numb,” he said in his closing argument.

In his recorded interview with detectives, Rowland said they had sex and were playing around.

“You can have consensual sex and have it turn into violent acts,” Browne said. “The over-the-top story she told … maybe she wanted to be sure they believed her.”

Browne said Rowland did not kidnap the woman. They left the residence in Clark County together and he let her out of the car at Love’s.

“Why would he take her straight to the truck stop?” she said. “Why didn’t he go in himself? Why didn’t he pump gas himself? Because this wasn’t a kidnapping.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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