BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
September 16, 2012
A 41-year-old man described as a career criminal was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday for picking up a young woman in New Orleans in a van marked “taxi,” driving her to Baton Rouge against her will and sexually assaulting her in 2010.
The victim said outside the courtroom that thoughts of condemned south Louisiana serial killer Derrick Todd Lee went through her head toward the end of that two-hour ordeal in March 2010, and she thought she was going to die.
“You are a danger to the public,” state District Judge Lou Daniel told Rudolph Joseph shortly after the New Orleans man said he is “not a violent person” and “not worthy to be thrown away.”
Joseph’s victim, who was 20 at the time of the March 7, 2010, incident, did not speak at the sentencing but said afterward she is “so happy” with the prison time he received.
“It’s finally over,” said the smiling 22-year-old woman, who was living in New Orleans and attending LSU at the time of the incident, which began on Frenchman Street in New Orleans and ended on America Street in Baton Rouge.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury found Joseph guilty in April of forcible rape and second-degree kidnapping, both of which carry prison terms ranging from five to 40 years.
Daniel, who called Joseph a career criminal, sentenced him to 40 years on each charge without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, but ordered the terms to run concurrently.
Prosecutor David deBlieux described the crime as heinous and said Joseph must serve every day of the 40-year sentence.
An arrest warrant says the woman solicited a ride in a white van marked as a taxi cab, but after a moment she realized the driver had passed her requested destination and asked to be let out of the taxi. The driver ignored her demands and continued driving until they left the New Orleans area, at which time the woman tried to escape the van, the warrant states.
“The driver started striking the victim in the face with his hand. After being physically assaulted, the victim continued to ask to be let out but to no avail,” the warrant says. “Upon reaching Baton Rouge, the victim again physically resisted and began kicking and hitting the driver and telling him to let her out.”
The woman said Friday she did so because she did not want to cross over the Mississippi River Bridge heading toward Whiskey Bay.
“I knew if we went over that bridge, I was going to die,” she said. “I thought about Derrick Todd Lee.”
One of Lee’s alleged victims — Pam Kinamore, 44 — disappeared July 12, 2002, from her home in Briarwood Subdivision. Her body was found four days later under Interstate 10 near Whiskey Bay.
Evidence of Lee’s alleged slaying of Kinamore was introduced at his first-degree murder trial in the 2002 killing of Charlotte Murray Pace. Lee was convicted and sentenced to death in the Pace case.
Joseph’s warrant states that, as a result of his victim’s resistance, he stopped in the 1700 block of America Street in downtown Baton Rouge, where the rape occurred. He then let her out of the vehicle and drove away.
After DNA tests matched Joseph to the assault, the woman picked his photograph out of a six-person photo lineup, the warrant says.
Joseph has four prior convictions, some dating as far back as 1990, for armed robbery, illegal possession of stolen property, battery on a police officer, and unauthorized use of a movable, deBlieux said.
Daniel said Joseph has pending aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape charges in Orleans Parish involving two other women.