A Waynesboro judge upheld a jury recommended 27-year sentence on Wednesday for a Waynesboro man convicted on multiple charges including rape and abduction from a 2019 Easter Weekend incident.
Brad Carter, 36, will serve eight years for rape, five years for abduction, five years for unlawful bodily injury, and nine years for three strangulation charges. Each sentence will run consecutively.
Waynesboro Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Elysse Stolpe presented evidence Wednesday that Carter had contacted the victim in the case after the trial despite a protective order. The victim received a Facebook message on May 30 from Carter's cellmate's girlfriend stating "he will follow you into the dark."
While the message didn't explicitly come from Carter or state it was from Carter directly, the victim testified "Follow You Into The Dark" was a song with meaning to the pair. In addition, in a recorded jail phone call from May 29, Carter can be heard relaying the message word-for-word to the sender.
"Apparently 75 messages leading up to the assault wasn't enough. He had to send one more," Stolpe said in court. "The defendant has shown he can't take no for an answer even when the court is saying no ... if he can't follow court orders while in jail, what other choice do we have?"
Stolpe added that upholding the 27-year jury recommended sentence would show Carter "what happens when the judicial system and community says no."
Benjamin Thurman, Carter's attorney, drew attention to Carter's minimal criminal history and the pre-sentence guidelines that called for a sentence of between 10 and 22 years.
Ultimately, Waynesboro Circuit Court judge Paul Dryer sided with the Commonwealth and imposed the 27-year sentence.
Before sentencing, Carter said he maintains his innocence.
"I know that the truth is out there ... the only real evidence were bruises and that says a lot," Carter said. "What was said happened didn't happen."
Carter was convicted after a two-day jury trial in March. During the trial, the victim testified that Carter, who she was living with and dating at the time, held her against her will for more than 30 hours. During that time, she alleged that she was zip tied, strangled three separate times, raped, hit with a flashlight and had urine-soaked socks placed in her mouth.
After more than three hours of deliberation, a jury found Carter guilty on all six charges.
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