Man pleas guilty in rape case

Gary Brewton

A former North Hill man is going to prison for several years for raping and robbing two teens who were walking after leaving a Highland Avenue convenience store three years ago.

Gary Brewton, 22, formerly of 132 Park Ave., has pleaded guilty to two counts of rape by forcible compulsion, in connection with the sexual assaults of the two women, who told police that he was a stranger to them. He has been sentenced to three to 15 years in a state correctional institution.

Brewton was scheduled to stand trial this week on the charges against him, but he entered his plea and was sentenced Thursday in the courtroom of Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Dominick Motto.

Brewton was accused of raping two teens, ages 17 and 19, on Dec. 17, 2015. He also was accused of robbing the two teens of their purses after trying to rob another woman outside of her home.

His sentence for those offenses will run concurrently with a prior rape conviction in March of last year, when he pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old girl on Reis Street on Oct. 16, 2014, when he was 17 years old. Assistant district attorney Jonathan Miller, who prosecuted both cases against him, succeeded in having Brewton charged as an adult in the prior incident.

Brewton has been in the Lawrence County jail since his initial arrest in that case. He will be transferred to a state correctional institution to serve out his new sentence, which also involves two years of probation after his release, listing him as a lifetime Megan's Law offender, undergoing sexual offender treatment and not having any contact with the victims.

Brewton was an adult at the time of the second alleged rape of the two girls near the convenience store, and they are now adults.

New Castle police had arrested Brewton in connection with the double rape after they received matching DNA results from the crime lab in connection with the 15-year-old in the first case and the two older teens in the second reported incident.

The two older teen rape victims had reported to the police that they were walking home from a friend’s house on Winter Avenue around 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2015, and had stopped at a Highland Avenue convenience store. As they left and walked along Boyles Avenue, they noticed a man following them, they told police. One of them told the other to walk faster, according to a police report, and as they turned onto Logan Street, the man, later identified as Brewton, ran up behind them wearing a knit cap and a dust-type mask over his face and holding a knife that resembled a machete, they reported. The girls both fell to the ground and the man demanded all of their money, they told police.

One of the teens reported that she told Brewton she had $13 and he went through her purse and took the money and gift cards, according to the report. The other said she did not have any money. They said he ordered them to get up and pulled them to the back of a house and kept telling them not to look at him. They said he forced their heads toward the ground and one of them said she was crouched over. They reported to police that he raped them both.

One of the woman said they were begging him not to rape or kill them. They said he then asked their names and ages and walked back toward the house, then returned and took their phones.

Police reported that they found two pieces of blue chewed bubblegum and a condom wrapper in the area, and they found a wet jacket and a condom nearby that they took as evidence.

Police said that earlier that night, a woman who lives on Shaw Street reported she was on her way home from work just before midnight and as she approached her front door, she saw a man next to a tree in her yard. She said she thought it was her husband, but realized it wasn’t. The woman started back for her door and the man approached her, and was face to face with her and she noticed he raised his hand, holding a sheathed knife. She said she banged on the door and screamed. Her husband came out and the man ran away through their back yard.

Police said they learned Brewton had not gone to school the morning after the alleged attacks. They served search warrants at his house and car and seized a knit hat, mask, two pairs of underwear, condoms and other items.

The police reported that a DNA hit on Brewton had been confirmed from the test taken when the 15-year-old’s rape occurred in 2014, and that crime lab testing of the condom found near the alleged double rape location also contained DNA that matched Brewton’s, on the inside and outside of it, they reported.

Brewton had faced a total of 34 charges against him, including the two first-degree felony rape counts, when he was initially arrested. Multiple charges of rape by threat of forcible compulsion, robbery, indecent sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, theft, receiving stolen property, simple assault and terroristic threats were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Miller said the female victims were in the courtroom Thursday and were agreeable to the terms of the plea offer. They did not offer any comments during his sentencing, he said.

Brewton was represented in court by attorneys Matthew T. Mangino and Gregory M. Rosatelli.

Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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