DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A man earlier found guilty of a vicious sexual assault 29 years ago, has been sentenced to life in prison with out parole. It only took an hour for a jury to find Marion Sayles guilty of Attempted Capital Murder. After the verdict and sentencing family members were allowed to make victim impact statements.
“Refusing to die.” Dallas County prosecutor Russell Wilson repeated that statement several times in the closing argument in the case of a woman shot, beaten and sexually assaulted in 1983.
Sayles was already in prison for a sex assault conviction when he was accused. He was extradited from prison for this trial and on Thursday listened quietly while Wilson pointed at him directly, telling the jury, “The truth is overwhelming. We didn’t forget Mary. Her journey ends today”.
Mary Smith is the assigned name given to the woman who was raped and shot, after being abducted in Dallas. The woman was joining friends for dinner at a McKinney Avenue restaurant, when two men grabbed her at gunpoint.
During the penalty phase, Smith looked her attacker in the eye and said, “How dare you. You tried to destroy my life and by the grace of God, I’m here.”
Smith says, at times over the past 29 years, she blamed herself for what happened. She says when she realized she would have to sit through another trial, she cried.
“I sobbed and sobbed for months. I couldn’t get through my mind that I’m going to have to relive this nightmare. I just want to give courage to others, to speak out and say yes, this happened to me to.”
During testimony Wednesday, Smith told the story of her sexual assault and subsequent shooting. She escaped from the men, and a passerby found her crawling near a bridge along Overton Road and I-45.
In 1984 Larry Jackson and James Williams were arrested, tried and convicted for the sexual assault, but last year both men were exonerated. Preserved DNA evidence from the ’83 crime did not match either man.
Sayles, along with Frederick Anderson, both in prison for previous crimes, were the matches to the DNA evidence. Sayles was the first of the two to stand trial. He did not take the stand.
When asked if he had anything to say before he was led out of the courtroom, he spoke of forgiveness. “I know Jesus Christ forgive everybody,” he said.
While Mary Smith did not identify him as her attacker, co-prosecutor Brandon Birmingham told the jury the DNA is the verification for a verdict of guilty. “Who did it?” Birmingham asked, and then answered, “The DNA says Marion Sayles”. The jury agreed.
Anderson, the second man charged in this case, will go on trial in early 2013. Smith, who no longer lives in Dallas, says she will be back to testify again at his trial.
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