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Man convicted of rape, kidnapping in DeKalb gets life sentence

Crime and public safety Decatur

Man convicted of rape, kidnapping in DeKalb gets life sentence

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A man convicted of raping three women in DeKalb County was sentenced to life in prison this month.

The man, 33-year-old Dominic Lawton of Ocilla, was convicted on charges of rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated sodomy, and weapons offenses.

He received three consecutive life sentences plus 10 years. He could also be charged in other cases, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office says.

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Police in DeKalb responded to the first kidnapping and rape case in September 2016.

“The 18-year-old female victim told authorities she had scheduled a date with the Defendant at a Snapfinger Park Drive motel after posting an ad on an adult website,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “When he arrived at the motel, the Defendant ordered the victim into his truck after flashing a gun. He drove to Exchange Park on Columbia Drive in Decatur and then ordered the victim to perform sex acts while being held at gunpoint. Defendant Lawton then drove the young woman back to the motel before leaving the area. The victim reported the crime to a relative, who took her to the hospital for testing.”

The second crime occurred about a month later.

“The 21-year-old victim had also arranged a date with the Defendant after posting an ad on an adult website,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “When he arrived to pick the young woman up in downtown Decatur, the Defendant claimed he needed to stop at an ATM before heading to his apartment. He instead detoured to Mason Mill Park on McConnell Drive in Decatur, held the victim at gunpoint, and ordered her to undress and perform sex acts. Following the attack, Defendant Lawton drove the victim back to Decatur, where she immediately summoned a police officer for help.”

A few days later, police officers saw Lawton’s pick up truck while on patrol in Exchange Park.

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“As they approached the vehicle, they noticed the Defendant scrambling to put his shirt on and then attempting to drive away before being ordered to stop,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “A 17-year-old, partially dressed victim, exited the Defendant’s truck and ran towards the patrol car and reported being sexually assaulted by the Defendant. The victim says she met the Defendant one weekend at the mall and he later called to take her to the movies on a date. After picking the teen up, the Defendant said he needed to stop by an ATM for cash. He instead drove her to the park and ordered her to undress and perform sex acts shortly before police arrived on patrol.”

Officers arrested Lawton at the scene and he was connected to the other assaults as well as an assault that occurred in June of 2016. The victim in that case passed away.

“Subsequent to his arrest, Lawton’s DNA was placed in a criminal database,” the District Attorney’s Office said. “It was later a positive match for a previously untested rape kit assigned to the Cold Case Sexual Assault Task Force, a coalition of metro area law enforcement and prosecution agencies, including the DeKalb DA’s Office, tasked with evaluating back-logged sexual assault kits under the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant. The cold case, now linked to Lawton, is pending prosecution in Tift County.”

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