LIMA — A north side Lima woman is one step closer to getting her life back after a jury found the teenager who broke into her house and raped her guilty Tuesday.
Celeel Curtis, now 18, is scheduled to be sentenced July 22 on rape, aggravated burglary, kidnapping and robbery after a jury of nine women and three men found him guilty after one hour and 20 minutes of deliberations.
The woman and her family locked arms while the verdicts were read. They appeared relieved and thankful after the verdicts.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Terri Kohlrieser said Curtis may have overpowered the victim Sept. 16 but she took the power back by testifying against him and making sure he didn’t get away with the brutal crime.
Curtis, who sat with mostly a blank look on his face throughout the trial, began to break down in tears after a deputy handcuffed him and led him back to jail. He will face more than 40 years in prison when he is sentenced.
The evidence was overwhelming against Curtis, which not only included the victim giving a detailed description of the crime and pointing to Curtis as the man who raped her, but Curtis confessed to a detective that was captured on video.
Curtis told the detective he broke into the house, stole items, attacked the woman and raped her. That evidence was backed by DNA from Curtis’ semen found with the victim and his skin found under her fingernails.
Kohlrieser described the crime as the victim’s “worst nightmare” that became a reality with Curtis threatening to kill her. She returned home to find an unknown teen in her house. She’s attacked, beaten, raped and robbed. She tried fighting back but the muscular Curtis was just too powerful, Kohlrieser said.
“She’s kicking, she’s biting, she’s scratching, she’s talking, trying to do anything it takes but he simply overpowers her,” Kohlrieser said. “He commits a crime that is one of the most degrading crimes a person could do.”
Even overpowered, the victim did perhaps the only thing she could do — memorize her attacker’s appearance and each article of clothing he wore, including a unique ball cap that led to his arrest in less than two hours.