CLEVELAND, Ohio — A man who pleaded guilty to raping a 30-year-old woman with developmental disabilities and a 76-year-old woman more than five years apart received a 25-year prison sentence on Thursday.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Russo handed down the sentence against Derrick Brown, 26, during a hearing on Thursday. Brown previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts of rape and felonious assault, as well as kidnapping, aggravated burglary and grand theft.
Russo’s sentence also requires Brown to register his address as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.
“This predator violently beat and raped these victims, whose lives are now forever changed,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said in a statement. “He deserves every day of this decades-long prison sentence for these despicable actions.”
DNA evidence from the attacks and a traffic stop where investigators found an unsecured gun in Brown’s car helped investigators tie him to the two attacks that occurred in East Side suburbs nearly five years apart.
The then-30-year-old woman was talking to a friend outside a Garfield Heights apartment building in March 2013 when Brown, then 18 years old, came up and started talking to them, prosecutors said. The friend let them into the building and went up to her apartment, and Brown asked the woman for sex, prosecutors said. She refused, and Brown attacked her. He punched her face and shoved her down to the floor, then raped her and eventually ran away, prosecutors said.
Police collected DNA from the scene and ran it through a national DNA database and found no match. Brown had no prior conviction, so his DNA was not in the system, prosecutors said.
Brown was arrested in July 2018 after sheriff’s deputies found an unsecured gun in his car during a traffic stop and was charged with improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. He was released after a bondsman posted 10 percent of his $2,500 bond. He did not show up for his scheduled arraignment, and law enforcement arrested him on a warrant in September of 2018. As part of the booking process, jail staff to swabbed Brown’s DNA. Comomn Pleas Court Judge Michael Jackson continued Brown’s original bond and he was released that day.
In January 2019, while still free on bond, Brown broke in through the basement window of a 76-year-old woman’s home in South Euclid in the middle of the night, prosecutors said. The noise woke the sleeping woman, who came into the kitchen and found Brown, prosecutors said. He punched her and knocked her to the floor, then pulled a knife and raped her, prosecutors said. Brown then forced the woman into her car at knifepoint and drove her to a bank so she could withdraw money and give it to him, prosecutors said.
Brown drove the woman back to her house then drove away in her car, prosecutors said.
South Euclid police collected DNA from the woman’s house, and matched it to Brown’s. He was arrested two days after the attack and indicted in February. A month later, investigators matched Brown’s DNA to the Garfield Heights case from 2013, and a grand jury handed up additional rape, kidnapping and felonious assault charges, according to court records.