Rapist sentenced to 27 years, stun gun used in BR attack

Chalmette man in Mississippi prison for separate attack

A convicted rapist who in 2009 used a stun gun and handcuffs to subdue college students in Baton Rouge and Mississippi was essentially dealt a life sentence Tuesday when a judge ordered him to spend 27 years in prison for sexually assaulting a woman in her Nicholson Drive apartment.

State District Judge Bonnie Jackson said James Harold Crockett Jr., 42, must serve that time consecutive to the 35 years he is serving at a Mississippi prison for raping a college student in Hattiesburg, Miss., the day after the Baton Rouge attack.

Crockett’s victim in the Baton Rouge case was in Jackson’s courtroom for his sentencing, but she did not speak in court or afterward.

Crockett, who was scheduled to stand trial this week in Baton Rouge on an aggravated rape charge, pleaded guilty Monday to forcible rape.

Jackson said Crockett had communicated an apology to his Baton Rouge victim, but the judge called such a gesture “woefully inadequate to address the harm” he caused.

“This was a traumatic life-changing event for her,” Jackson told a shackled Crockett, formerly of Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish. “I hope this will give her some relief.”

The judge said Crockett will serve his Baton Rouge time once he completes his Mississippi sentence. She said the consecutive terms will make it impossible for Crockett to harm another woman.

“I think it was a fair resolution because it’s essentially a life sentence,” East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie said outside the courtroom.

In the Baton Rouge case, Crockett admitted to raping a 22-year-old woman in her Nicholson Drive apartment on July 5, 2009.

She was attending Baton Rouge Community College at the time.

In Mississippi, he pleaded guilty to raping a 21-year-old University of Southern Mississippi student at her Hattiesburg apartment on July 6, 2009.

Authorities have said Crockett used a stun gun and handcuffs during both sexual assaults.

In the Baton Rouge incident, Crockett knocked on the woman’s door about 12:30 a.m. and asked to see the victim’s roommate, referring to the roommate by her first name. He then asked if he could use the bathroom, an arrest warrant stated.

Once inside the apartment, Crockett grabbed the victim, and while she was screaming, began shooting her with a stun gun in her shoulder, wrist, leg and cheek.

He then handcuffed the victim’s wrists in front of her body and handcuffed her wrists to her ankles, the warrant said.

The victim told police once she was handcuffed, Crockett raped her in her bedroom.

The victim in the Mississippi case told police she was walking into her apartment when Crockett forced her inside, hit her, shocked her repeatedly, then handcuffed and raped her.

Crockett was detained in Florence, Ala., on July 7, 2009, after he was caught hanging around an apartment complex with handcuffs and a stun gun. However, since he had not yet been identified as a suspect in the earlier crimes, he was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and released.

Police kept the stun gun and handcuffs and sent a profile of Crockett to law enforcement officers across the Southeast, which allegedly linked Crockett to assaults on college students in Baton Rouge and Hattiesburg, authorities said.

Crockett returned to Louisiana and attacked a woman in Hammond with a stun gun on July 10, 2009, but she was able to fend him off, according to authorities.

Crockett was arrested July 12, 2009, after an intense manhunt when he crashed his car during a 15-mile police pursuit near Huntsville, Ala.

If Crockett had gone to trial in Baton Rouge, Bernie said, she would have offered the Mississippi and Hammond attacks as evidence against him.

Crockett’s criminal record includes convictions for burglary, grand larceny and escape, authorities have said.