District Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Assaulting Stranger in Her Home
Neighbors Heard Screams and Called Police, Who Arrested Defendant at Scene
WASHINGTON – Iray Turner, 41, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 12 years in prison on one count of assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse and one count of kidnapping for his assault of a stranger in her home, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced.
Turner pled guilty in September 2017 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The plea, which was contingent upon the Court’s approval, called for a prison sentence between 10 and 12 years. The Honorable Lynn Leibovitz accepted the plea and sentenced Turner accordingly. Following his prison term, Turner will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He also will be placed on supervised release for the rest of his life. .
According to the government’s evidence, in the early morning hours of Aug. 24, 2016, the victim arrived at her home in Northeast Washington in an intoxicated state. She does not remember how she got home. The first memory she has is of Turner, a stranger to her, on top of her in her bed, strangling her. She remembers screaming and calling for help. She remembers Turner telling her to be quiet and to calm down. Both of the victim’s neighbors called 911 to report the screams, and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to the location.
When MPD officers arrived, they heard a woman screaming for help. They observed house keys hanging from the outdoor lock, and entered the home to locate the victim. Upon entering the home, the officers continued to hear the screams, coming from a bedroom on the second floor. Officers moved upstairs and continued to hear screaming for help. Officers also heard a male voice inside the bedroom, later determined to be the voice of Turner.
Officers pleaded with Turner to open the door, and he refused to do so. Officers urged Turner to allow them to see that the victim was okay. Despite the continued screams, Turner told officers that she was okay. On two occasions, Turner cracked open the bedroom door. However, he refused to allow the victim to exit the bedroom. Officers breached the door and moved in.
When officers entered the bedroom, Turner was sitting on the floor with his back against the door. He was wearing only boxer shorts and socks. The victim was seated on the bed, crying, unclothed from the waist down. She told officers that Turner did not rape her, but that he tried to rape her. Turner was arrested on the scene and has been in custody ever since.
The victim was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she was examined by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The examination identified 49 different injuries on the victim’s body, including multiple abrasions on her face, hemorrhaging to both eyes, bruising all over her body, and red marks to her neck. An expert would have testified at trial that many of those observed injuries were consistent with strangulation, and that the injuries were acute. The expert would also have testified at trial that some of the scratches on the victim’s neck were consistent with defensive injuries that may resulted from the victim scratching her neck while trying to remove Turner’s hands from strangling her on her neck.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu praised the work of detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit, who investigated the case, the officers from the Fifth District of the Metropolitan Police Department who initially responded to the scene, crime scene technicians from the District of Columbia Department of Forensic Sciences, and toxicologists from the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
She also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists D’Yvonne Key, T.J. McPhail, and Michelle Wicker, Victim/Witness Advocates Tracey Hawkins and Veronica Vaughan, and Litigation Technology Specialist Jeanie Latimore-Brown. Finally, she commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elana Suttenberg, Jessica Brooks, and Julianne Johnston, who investigated and prosecuted this case.