From http://www.wsoctv.com, March 28, 2015
Mecklenburg Prosecutors spent most of Friday, March 27, 2015 building their case that a man who spent nine years in prison for one sexual assault and beating did the same to a woman a year after he got out.
Fitzgerald Rice, 49, is charged with sexually assaulting, kidnapping and strangling the woman, who was then 25 years old, in his apartment in east Charlotte in December, 2012.
Earlier in the week, the woman had described the alleged attack in detail, but told the jury that she had gone to Rice’s apartment to perform a sex act for money before he turned violent. She also admitted changing her story to police several times.
So prosecutors tried to bolster her credibility by bringing in two other women who said Rice had attacked them in very similar circumstances in 1995 and 1997.
“Anywhere I went, he was there. He treated me like a dog,” said one of the women, describing the incident in 1997.
She said she had gone to Rice’s apartment to smoke crack and that he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her.
“He said he would kill me, and I believed him,” she told jurors.
Her story echoed that of another woman who described an alleged attack in 1995.
“I would say she was very upset, scared and crying. She wanted to get out of that apartment,” said a former police officer who had responded to that call and encountered the woman.
Rice’s attorney questioned the women’s motives for going to Rice’s apartment and pointed out that prosecutors had dismissed the charges in both cases.
Rice did plead guilty to another attack, also at his apartment, in 2001. He spent nine years in prison and was out of prison for only a year when police say he attacked the victim in the current case.
Because of his previous conviction, Rice could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted in the current trial.