Apr. 19—LIMA — A Lima man convicted in March by an Allen County jury of raping two women and dealing cocaine was sentenced Monday to 36 years in prison.
Terrez Carter, referred to by one family friend as a "gentle giant," showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down by Judge Jeffrey Reed, but he did shed some tears when supporters sought leniency on his behalf by bringing up his ailing mother.
Jurors earlier this year found Carter, 48, guilty of five of the six rape charges filed against him, felonies of the first degree, along with two first-degree felony counts of kidnapping and single counts of possession of cocaine and having a weapon under disability. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty on a remaining count of rape.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Rebecca King-Newman asked Reed to impose the maximum possible sentence.
"We believe the citizens of this community have spoken quite clearly in finding Mr. Carter guilty of raping two women multiple times and kidnapping them to facilitate those offenses. Both of these young ladies have suffered — emotionally and from a mental health perspective," King-Newman said. "Mr. Carter should be sentenced to the maximum number of years possible ... to prevent society from feeling unsafe with a rapist and drug dealer out in our community."
Carter declined to speak on his own behalf, according to defense attorney Dustin Blake, due to appeals that will be filed on his behalf.
A longtime family friend, Lafawn Pugsley, called Carter a "gentle giant" who is the primary caregiver for his mother, a woman who has already lost one son to murder. She asked Reed to impose the minimum sentence.
Pugsley's husband, Warren, called the judge "the name and face of justice" in the county.
"We still have a problem in the legal system with ethnicity, and now you get to say what is fair," Warren Pugsley said. "I'm asking you to give him the minimum sentence you can give him."
Reed's sentence landed somewhere between the wishes of the state and the defendant's supporters. He sentenced Carter to 11 years in prison on each of five rape charges but ordered some of those sentences to be served concurrently. An additional 11 years on the possession of cocaine charge and three years for having a weapon under disability brought Carter's total prison time to 36 years. For sentencing purposes, the kidnapping charges were merged with other counts and were not considered.
One of the rapes for which Carter was charged took place in 2015, and the other occurred in 2018. Two different women were the victims in the case, and each took the witness stand during Carter's trial.
One described his as a "good guy," while the other admitted on the stand that she still loved him. Under cross-examination from Carter's attorney, one of the women said she submitted to a variety of sexual acts with the Lima man not because they were consensual but because she feared for her life.
"I was afraid he (Carter) was going to hurt me. He had his gun out the whole time, and I was scared," the woman testified.
One of the victims was present in court Monday but chose not to address the court.