LIMA — Leon Prince said he left the Washington, D.C., area of northern Virginia and came to Lima to find a community in which to settle down. What he found instead, he told an Allen County judge on Monday, was “a bad epidemic” of crack cocaine.
A subsequent weekend of cocaine-fueled sex with a woman he had just met in July 2018 ended with Prince being led out of a Lima courtroom Monday to begin a 15-year prison sentence for kidnapping and sexual battery.
The stories surrounding the case presented to Judge Jeffrey Reed by Prince as well as the victim, who was in the courtroom and addressed Reed prior to sentencing, varied drastically.
The woman told Reed that “after six hours of being held against my will” at an East Fourth Street home “I really felt that I was going to die” at the hands of Prince. She said her brief relationship with her 52-year-old attacker “scarred me for life.”
“He is evil, and I ask the court to impose the maximum (prison) time so that not only me but the entire community can be protected from this man,” the woman pleaded.
Prince denied the allegations, telling the judge, “I didn’t rape or kidnap anyone. I’m guilty of offering crack cocaine for sex.”
Longtime defense attorney John Fisher said the frustration surrounding cases such as Prince’s are what has led him to abandon his law practice.
“Leon could not afford to take this case to trial due to the serious nature of the charges, but I don’t believe for a minute that he raped or kidnapped this woman,” Fisher said.
Prince was indicted by a grand jury nearly two years ago on two counts of felony rape, a first-degree felony count of kidnapping and additional counts of robbery and felonious assault. As part of a deal reached with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to the kidnapping charge and a Bill of Information that added the sexual battery counts.
“I apologize to the victim very much for offering her crack for sex, but I did not do all the things that have been described here today,” Prince said prior to sentencing.
He was labeled a Tier 3 sex offender and, as such, will be required to register with authorities every 90 days for life.
The victim told police Prince became angry at one point about a drug deal that had gone awry and struck her in the face with a closed fist. Prince admitted in court on Monday that he struck the woman, who had picked Prince out of a police lineup and identified him as her attacker.
As part of his sentence, Prince was ordered to pay the victim $1,702 to cover the cost of medical and dental bills.