An Alexandria Circuit Court jury yesterday found 30 year-old Clifford Estes of Washington guilty of raping a 28-year-old government analyst in her Old Town apartment last year, and recommended he be sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Judge Albert Grenadier set Estes' sentencing for Aug. 12. Under Virginia law, Grenadier can reduce the jury's recommended sentence, but he may not increase it.
The jury recommended that Estes serve 20 years for statutory burglary, 20 years for felonious assault and 50 years for rape. All the sentences are to run consecutively, the jury said.
A prosecutor said, assuming that the judge imposes the 90-year sentence, Estes could be eligible for parole in 15 years.
The jury of nine women and three men took less than two hours to reach a verdict in the case, which prosecutors described as one of the most brutal rape cases in the Northern Virginia city.
The victim, a single woman who lived alone in a modest apartment eight blocks from City Hall, suffered severe facial lacerations, several broken teeth, a broken rib and required plastic surgery to repair damage to the inside of her mouth.
Police said they found her wrapped in a towel and "drenched in blood." The officers said she was unconscious when she was raped.
The victim might not have been home at all that day, had it not been a holiday. It was in the early afternoon of Nov. 12 -- Veterans Day -- when, dressed shorts and a T-shirt, she answered a knock on her door.
Estes, a former inmate of Lorton prison, was dating another resident of the building and was able to get in with a key she had given him, according to police.
Witnesses testified that he went to several apartments that day looking for the woman he was said to be dating. In all, he appeared at the victim's door three times, each time asking her to dial a telephone number for him.
She did, but on each occasion she left him standing in the hallway with her door bolted shut. The third time Estes gave her a phone number, he slammed into the door and broke off the safety chain, she testified.
Residents of the building said they heard her screams for help, but were unable to locate the apartment the cries were coming from. The assailant had fled by the time police arrived.
On a tip from the building's janitor, police said they were able to link Estes with the woman he had been dating there. Later they found that the woman's phone number corresponded to the number the victim remembered her attacker giving her.
Capitol Police arrested Estes three days later in the lobby of the Rayburn Office Building.