GREENSBORO — It took 12 long years to hear those words, and when they finally came Monday in Guilford County Superior Court — guilty of first-degree rape — she pursed her lips to hide her emotion.
But as the judge continued to read the jury’s verdict, the woman, who was attacked as a UNCG student in 1992, struggled to contain her tears.
Guilty. Attempted first-degree rape. Guilty. First-degree sex offense.
From the front row of the courtroom, she dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. Her husband wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
Guilty. First-degree kidnapping. Guilty. Attempted armed robbery.
When it was over, Jasper K. Summers — already in prison for attacks on other women — received four consecutive sentences of life in prison plus 70 years to be served after that.
“I can finally close the door on this chapter in my life,” she said after receiving one hug after another from family as well as the prosecutor and lead detective. “Justice is done today.”
The News & Record does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The woman, who is now 6 months pregnant, was a psychology student back in November 1992 when she crossed paths with Summers, a convicted rapist on parole at the time.
She was alone inside a coin-operated laundry on Milton Street around midnight when Summers entered, asked where he could find a phone and left. He returned armed with a switchblade knife and forced her into her Honda Accord.
After a short drive, he sexually assaulted and raped her before dropping her off and telling her he’d leave her car back at the laundry.
Police worked the case to no avail. It remained cold for years until detectives resubmitted evidence to the State Bureau of Investigation forensic lab in 2003. This spring they learned that DNA from semen found on the woman’s shorts matched a sample taken from Summers.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that the DNA match was the key to the case.
“The DNA analysis tells you conclusively who did it,” Guilford District Attorney Stuart Albright told the jury during Monday’s closing arguments.
Summers’ attorney attacked the credibility of the process by which his client was connected to the crime through his DNA. It’s based on theory, not fact, and involves relying on complex machines that can fail, he said.
“Machines are not infallible,” said Wayne Baucino, a Guilford County assistant public defender.
After Summers’ conviction, Superior Court Judge J. Gentry Caudill gave him a steeper sentence because of his criminal record. Summers was convicted in 1975 of second-degree rape and armed robbery. He was given a life sentence but was paroled in 1991. Roughly two months after raping the UNCG student, he attacked a woman in a Greensboro parking lot. She escaped, however, and he later pleaded guilty to second-degree kidnapping in the attack. He received a 15-year sentence for that crime, and his parole was revoked, leaving him to serve out his former life sentence. He was in prison this year when police charged him with the 1992 rape.
Albright told the victim’s family that the judge’s sentence Monday meant one thing: “He’s dying in jail.”
Summers, 49, had reportedly cussed at a judge at a pre-trial hearing and vehemently claimed last week in court that a sheriff’s deputy had assaulted him on the way to the courtroom. While being led away after receiving his sentence Monday, he stopped and turned toward the victim for a last word. She braced herself.
“Sorry,” he said, wishing the pregnant woman good luck with her baby. “I’m sorry.”
Contact Eric Collins
at 373-7077 or ecollins@