FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A man who brutally attacked a woman three years ago was sentenced to 120 years in prison Friday.
Michael Stafford, of DeKalb County, was convicted earlier in March of barricading a woman inside her home , threatening her and her two-year-old with a knife, and forcing her to perform a sex act.
According to the court documents, on July 21, 2009, Stafford started talking to a woman mowing her lawn at her home on State Road 1 near Butler. He was asking about cars she and her husband had for sale that were sitting at the edge of her yard.
The woman said she went into the house to write down her husband's phone number to answer more questions about the cars. When she started to come back outside, police said Stafford met her at the door with a large-bladed knife and force his way into her house.
Stafford then demanded the woman's cell phone and asked if anyone else was home. The woman went to get her daughter, who was playing in the open garage, and Stafford was following her still holding the knife, the probable cause said. The document continued that Stafford told the woman if she didn't do everything he said he would "cut" her and her daughter.
Then the woman told police Stafford tied her and her daughter together with duct tape and said that he was not there for money, but was there to "rape" her. The woman started screaming, and she said Stafford put his gloved hand over her mouth, making it hard for her to breathe. She struggled and was able to get her hands free, the documents said. She moved his hand off her mouth and nose and when Stafford noticed she had broken free, he moved her from the living room to the bedroom.
That's when the probable cause said Stafford made the woman, while being held a knife-point, perform a sex act on him. Police said the little girl was made to watch. The woman said Stafford then forced her and her daughter into a bathroom where she locked the door from the inside. Stafford put a kitchen chair against the door, but when she heard his car start, the woman said she was able to squeeze by it to see him pulling away in a maroon car going north toward Hamilton, court documents continued.
Police were released a sketch of Stafford, but received no leads.
Then, in October 2009, the woman called police saying she saw her attacker shopping at the Wal-Mart in Angola. But, by the time police got there, the man was gone. Once again, the investigation went cold.
Four weeks later, the woman saw him again eating at the Pizza Hut in Angola with another woman. This time, Angola police were able to get the man's identification.
On March 13, police arrested Stafford on a warrant for failure to appear for an OWI charge in DeKalb County in 2010. Stafford told police that he was joking when he told his girlfriend he was wanted on a rape charge.
A DNA test was then conducted at the Indiana State Police lab in Fort Wayne to compare Stafford's DNA to that found in the woman's home in 2009. The results found that there was a one in fifty-million chance that someone other than Stafford left the DNA found in the carpet in 2009, the probable cause said.
On March 28, 2012, Stafford was formally arrested and charged in the 2009 assault.
The jury found Stafford guilty on all five felony charges:
- Criminal Deviate Conduct: Class A Felony
- Kidnapping: Class A Felony
- Burglary: Class B Felony
- Criminal Confinement: Class B Felony
- Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon: Class B Felony
On his way into court back in March of 2012, Stafford told NewsChannel 15 that he didn't attack the woman. When NewsChannel 15 asked then why did police find his DNA there, he said, "It was consensual."
NewsChannel 15's own news clip was admitted into evidence during the trial, and Alyssa Ivanson had to testify during Stafford's trial.
Stafford has 30 days from March 22, his sentencing date, to file an appeal if he so chooses.
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