Trucker Accused Of Raping Woman In Semi Stands Trial, Verdict Reached
Erie, Pennsylvania – A Pennsylvania jury of eight men and four women found 58-year-old truck driver Jerome Keyes, of Mississippi, guilty of rape and simple assault stemming from an incident last October.
After three days of graphic testimony, Keyes was found guilty of raping and assaulting 37-year-old Doris Velazquez of Erie.
Prosecutors said that on October 17, 2018, Keyes abducted Velazquez at knifepoint at 1:30 a.m.
Velazquez testified that Keyes kidnapped her near the Shell gas station on East 6th and Parade Streets and then drove her in his bobtail semi to a parking lot located off of West 12th and Chestnut Streets.
She then says Keys raped her numerous times and brutally beat her.
Velazquez was able to escape the truck and run to a nearby resident’s house where that person took her in and called 9-1-1. Keyes then fled the scene.
However, what Keyes did not count on was the fact the incident in the parking lot was caught on surveillance video.
The surveillance video shows the semi, owned by Wayne W. Sell Trucking Corporation out of Sarver, Pa., and who employed Keyes, pulling into the parking lot at 1:38 a.m. and then park.
Later, Velazquez can be seen escaping from the truck and running away in terror.
It took police more than a week to apprehend Keyes.
Police say two callers were able to identify the trucking company from the truck in the video. Investigators followed up with the trucking company to identify the driver and confirmed Keyes was in fact in Erie at the time of the attack.
Erie Police, along with the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, took Keyes into custody October 26th around 3:30 p.m. near Butler.
Velazquez Speaks Out
After hearing the verdict handed down, Velazquez spoke to reporters outside of the courtroom.
“I’m just happy that at least I got my justice for what happened,” said Velazquez. “I don’t hold a grudge against him. I forgive him, but I can’t forget.”
The jury deliberated for five hours before returning the verdict. However, Keyes was exonerated on the charge of kidnapping as well as nine other charges.
Velazquez said the most important thing to her was that Keyes face justice for raping and beating her. “I thank God that they found him guilty of the rape charge,” she stated.
She said she will now be able to move on with her life.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Velazquez. “It’s going to take a challenge for me to go back to the person I was after I was raped and kidnapped. It’s like I say, you have to go through everything to learn about life. You hit rock bottom, and you get back up.”
It’s Not Over Yet
Keyes will be sentenced on May 31. He also faces charges on another rape case.
Erie Bureau of Police Deputy Chief Mike Nolan said DNA collected from Keyes following his October arrest matched the DNA extracted from three separate pieces of evidence collected from the victim of a 2015 rape.
Keyes was charged in December 2018 with rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery and kidnapping in the July 2015 rape of a 42-year-old woman.
He is expected to stand trial on those charges later this year.