A 38-year-old man who abducted a Sterling woman from her home at knife point and raped her in his Gore, Va., home should spend the rest of his life in prison, a Loudoun County Circuit Court jury recommended Friday.
Prosecutors said Gary Proctor plotted the Feb. 18 assault down to the last detail--including removing the phones from his home so the woman wouldn't be able to call for help.
"Gary Proctor did everything he did because he planned it," Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Stephen E. Sincavage said in his closing argument. "He knew she was someone who would open her door for him. He knew she lived alone. He knew she didn't have any dogs. All that was perfect for him to carry out his plan."
Defense attorney Barry Zweig told jurors that although his client is guilty of abduction, he never intended to harm the woman and just needed someone to talk to because his parents were ill and he was under a lot of pressure. He said that Proctor never hid his phones and that the woman simply failed to notice them.
"Mr. Proctor didn't have any intent except to talk to someone," Zweig said. "Gary Proctor believed that she liked him. Gary Proctor was a very upset man."
After hearing two days of evidence, the jury Friday convicted Proctor of rape, abduction, robbery and unlawful wounding. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 2.
The woman, who prosecutors said is in her late thirties or early forties and works in the medical profession, told jurors she met Proctor when he was doing construction work on her street the summer before the attack. The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The woman said that Proctor occasionally used her telephone but that the two never had any social contact.
That night in February, the woman testified, Proctor stopped by and said he had lost a ring and wondered whether she had found it. The woman said she wanted Proctor to leave and offered him a television she had planned to give to Goodwill.
Proctor accepted the TV and moved his truck closer to her home, the woman testified. When he returned to the house, she said, he grabbed her around the shoulders and held a knife to her throat.
The woman testified that she pulled away from Proctor, cutting her hand on the knife, and that he chased her into the kitchen. Proctor then pinned her on the floor and tied her hands behind her back with yellow twine.
The woman told jurors she realized she wouldn't be able to fight off Proctor physically and decided she had a better chance of escaping if she calmed down.
"I felt that at any time his fuse would blow and that at any time he could get extremely angry," she testified. "I just didn't want to set him off. I thought he was going to kill me."
The woman said Proctor covered her bleeding hand with a towel and led her to her bedroom, where he put her shoes on her. Then he took her to his truck and forced her to lie on the seat with her head in his lap.
After an hour's drive, Proctor led her inside his home, the woman testified. He cleaned her wound with peroxide and offered her a bandage, she said, and then the two sat and talked.
"I was trying to get his mind away from the violence I saw in my house," the woman testified. "I was trying to find a human side of him."
The woman said that in an effort to keep Proctor calm, she didn't say no when he asked her to have sex. She testified that he complied with her request to use a condom.
Proctor finally drove the woman home, again demanding that she keep her head in his lap, and she called police, prosecutors said. Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Owen D. Basham noted that Proctor has a 1986 felony sexual assault conviction in West Virginia and asked jurors to recommend a life sentence.
"There's nothing that will make [the woman's] life the same as it was," Basham said. "But you can make sure that she sleeps better in the future."