Leroy Allen Lovelace was found guilty yesterday of raping three women and sexually assaulting a fourth, and an Arlington Circuit Court jury recommended that he be sentenced to six life terms plus 145 years in prison.
After about four hours of deliberations, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all 15 felony counts against Lovelace, a 39-year-old Arlington electrician and tennis enthusiast.
The charges included three counts of rape, one of sexual assault, three counts of abduction, four counts of robbery and four counts of breaking and entering, one while armed. Judge Paul F. Sheridan did not set a sentencing date.
"I'm thrilled," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Barbara L. Walker, who tried the case. She said the four victims, who had testified in the case, were "all very pleased . . . . One of them couldn't even talk." Three of the women had sat through parts of the trial. None was present when the verdicts were announced.
Defense attorney John C. Youngs said he intends to appeal the verdict "vigorously."
The case involved the largest number of rape or sexual assault victims at one trial in recent Arlington history, according to Arlington investigators.
Most of the case was based on circumstantial evidence because the assailant disguised his face during most of the attacks, which occueews from November 1986 to July 1987, and none of the women were able to positively identify him.
The prosecution strung together similar comments and actions in each attack and two of the victims were also able to describe in detail the clothes her assailant wore. Clothing matching their descriptions was found in Lovelace's home and truck, as were the phone numbers of two of the victims.
There were other similarities. All of the women were white professionals who had roommates. All attacks occurred shortly before and after dawn and the assailant told his victims he wanted money to leave the area.
During one attack, the victim said Lovelace took nude photographs of her. The photos were never found.
The case was complex because jurors had to remember the details of four attacks, as well as the details of three alibis. Youngs offered no alibi for one of the incidents because, he said, Lovelace could not remember where he had been that day.
Relatives, fellow tennis players and work supervisors testified as alibi witnesses. With their help, Youngs argued that Lovelace had been at home, at work, on the tennis court or on the way to those places when the attacks took place.
Lovelace took the stand Friday to explain how he came to possess the clothing and phone numbers that were the prosecution's strongest evidence against him.
He said that he had found the clothes and phone numbers in a gym bag lying in a creek along his jogging route.
Lovelace was arrested in August after police, who had established him as a suspect, set up an undercover surveillance operation. The undercover officers apprehended Lovelace after they allegedly saw him engage in peeping Tom activity. He was not tried in that incident.