Macon – A Macon man was sentenced to prison Friday after Bibb County jurors found him guilty of raping one woman in February 2018 just hours after he attempted to rape another woman.
A trial began Tuesday for Jamal Chris Rowe, 30, in Bibb County Superior Court. Jurors deliberated for a little more than an hour on Friday before finding Rowe guilty of rape, criminal attempt to commit rape, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of burglary.
A judge sentenced Rowe to life in prison followed by an additional 50 years.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Nancy Scott Malcor and Assistant District Attorney Cara Fiore presented the following evidence during the trial:
A woman living at a Clinton Road apartment complex testified she was asleep on her sofa late on the night of Feb. 5, 2018, when she heard a knock at the door. She cracked her door to talk with the man outside. The man pushed his way into the apartment, dragged her into the bedroom and held her down as he tried to open a condom wrapper. The woman testified she screamed for help, but her attacker choked her with his hands and threatened to kill her if she didn’t stop. She said the assault was interrupted when a neighbor knocked on the door.
A downstairs neighbor testified he became concerned after hearing noise upstairs and knocked on the woman’s door. Outside the door, he heard the woman yell for help and he left to call for help. He soon saw a man sneaking out of the woman’s apartment and chased the man away. He said the man threatened to cut him during the chase.
About two hours later, not two miles away, a woman was cleaning in her Graham Road apartment after putting her young daughter to bed. She heard a knock at the door and cracked it to talk with the man outside. The woman testified the man pushed his way into the apartment, threatened her with a knife, choked her with his hands and raped her multiple times over several hours. While there, he told the woman he was 28 and hadn’t had sex in a while because he’d been in prison. He took a handful of Trojan Magnum condoms when he left.
Both women and the neighbor from the Clinton Road apartments gave police a similar description of the women’s attacker.
On Feb. 7, 2018 – two days after the attacks – a Bibb County Sheriff’s Office investigator spotted a man as he was driving home from work. The man was in front of the Clinton Road apartment complex and he matched the witnesses’ physical description and clothing from the two incidents. After making a U-turn, the investigator confronted the man who was later identified as Rowe. A knife was found near the spot where Rowe had been standing when he’d first been spotted by the investigator. Rowe had a Trojan Magnum condom with the same expiration date and number as those still at the Graham Road victim’s apartment.
The neighbor from the Clinton Road assault and the victim from the Graham Road rape picked Rowe’s photo from a photo line-up, identifying him as the assailant.
Rowe was 28 at the time, the same age the Graham Road woman said her attacker had said he’d been. Rowe had been released from prison on Feb. 1, 2018 – four days before the assaults – just as the attacker had said.
A second woman from the Clinton Road apartments came forward days later, saying she’d also answered a knock at her door on the night of Feb. 5, 2018, just a few minutes before the first attack. She testified the man asked her if someone was at the apartment. After seeing her young daughter and dog inside, he left. Later, she saw Rowe’s photo in news coverage and recognized him as the man who’d knocked on her door.
Speaking after the trial, District Attorney David Cooke said, “Mr. Rowe spent his few days of freedom hunting the vulnerable to violently fulfill his sexual desires. After this jury’s verdict, he’s one predator who’ll never have the opportunity to hunt again.”
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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack