A man convicted of raping an 82-year-old woman was given a minimum 25-year sentence on Monday, with Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern citing the Blakely opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.
On June 24, the Supreme Court ruled that only juries, not judges, may increase criminal sentences beyond the maximums suggested by statutory guidelines.
Judge Stern said she was limited by that ruling in sentencing Kacy Duane Cannon, who was 25 at the time of the rape. The judge noted that the trial of the case was prior to the Blakely decision so the jury was not asked for input on the sentencing.
She gave both sides three weeks to provide arguments that would allow the jury to be reconvened, but she said that was not a likely option.
The jury in May convicted Cannon of aggravated rape in a case in which DNA testing was the state's whole case.
Elijah Ellington spent five months in jail charged in the case in which the woman was raped in East Lake.
But DNA testing cleared him and pointed toward Cannon, who had gone to prison in 2001 on other charges.
Prosecutor Mary Sullivan Moore said as soon as Cannon's blood was entered into the system "it was an instant match" for the semen left on the elderly woman's pantyhose.
Cannon faced 25-40 years in prison at 85 percent.
Ms. Moore said at the close of the trial that Cannon has a lengthy rap sheet and he could be liable for as much as 60 years behind bars.
The incident happened in November 1999.
The woman is still alive but suffers from dementia and was not able to testify.
Authorities said a man came to her door and asked for water. He then pushed his way inside and raped her on a couch.
Raymond Johnson, the victim's son-in-law, said she was never the same after the attack four years ago. He said he and his wife drove up the next day from Milton, Fla., and found her withdrawn and not wanting to talk about the incident.
He said it caused her personality to change, and she now lives in the past. He said she can recount details of events of when her brother was mayor of Miami and running for governor of Florida, but not daily items.
"That person we knew is gone. We have nothing left but a body and we try to maintain that body," he said.
He said the victim was once a teacher, artist and secretary for two churches with a vibrant personality. She now lives in an assisted living facility near them in Florida.
Mr. Johnson said of Cannon, "He took the remaining years of her life. She has nothing now."