Joey Poindexter, a Montgomery County real estate appraiser convicted of raping men he met at beer-pong events, was sentenced to 150 years in prison Wednesday by a judge who said Poindexter secretly drugged his victims.
“There was much talk at trial about alcohol and intoxication,” Circuit Judge Richard Jordan told Poindexter, recalling his convictions earlier this year. “I have to say to you, there is really no doubt in my mind that those victims were drugged.”
The assertion helped explain an enduring and disturbing question about the case, which garnered national attention: How did Poindexter, now 40 years old, manage to carry out his assaults without his victims even knowing what happened?
It was only after detectives searched Poindexter’s cellphone and computer hard drive — and discovered that Poindexter had been video-recording and photographing his assaults for years — that the detectives learned there were so many victims.
That video evidence had been played in court earlier. It showed men with slurred speech — who, even in the case of a man standing in a shower, appeared lifeless.
“They were,” Jordan said, pausing to find the right words, “like dead bodies.”
For many people, beer pong is an informal drinking game played in college dorm rooms. But it has a competitive side as well, often played in bars, with tournaments and rankings.
Prosecutors contended that Poindexter traveled to competitive beer-pong events in Maryland and as far away as Utah and the Caribbean. The video and photo evidence revealed at least 30 victims, according to prosecutors. In court Wednesday, they showed the judge at least one photo of each victim.
Many of the images did not show faces. Detectives and prosecutors could never identify many of the men. In the end, Poindexter was convicted of sexually assaulting five men.
Three of the victims testified during trials earlier this year. Part of the time, they found themselves answering questions directly from Poindexter while he acted as his own lawyer. All five victims have felt the “severe, traumatic and continued devastating” effects of Poindexter’s assaults, prosecutors have said in court papers.
None of the victims came to court Wednesday. Poindexter did not speak, which is common for convicts facing long sentences who expect to file appeals — and don’t want to enter admissions into the record.
During the hearing, defense attorney Rebecca Nitkin criticized prosecutors for saying there were 30 victims when there were convictions for only five victims. And of those five, only three testified, denying Poindexter his basic Sixth Amendment right to confront all his accusers, Nitkin said.
She noted that her client came from a religious, close and large family, that he is “incredibly bright,” did well in college and built a successful business. She quoted William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill, and asked that her client be given a chance at rehabilitation.
“He’s a human being, and humans are complicated,” she said.
Prosecutor Patrick Mays said that state sentencing guidelines called for 108 to 157 years but asked Jordan to sentence Poindexter to the maximum, 200 years.
“He is, in fact, a serial sexual predator the likes of which we have never seen in Montgomery County,” Mays said.
He said Poindexter traveled to events in the Washington area and beyond — Atlantic City, Virginia Beach, Salt Lake City, the Caribbean. “Competitive beer pong,” Mays said, “that is something that gave him access to victim after victim after victim.”
But Mays admitted he could explain only so much. “It’s hard to even wrap your mind around who Mr. Poindexter is.”
Jordan, the judge, said he was sentencing Poindexter only for the five men linked to his convictions. “Five victims get you to predator status, if you will,” he said, adding, “the crimes are compounded by the fact that you took videos.”
Jordan also spoke about the first victim to testify, a man who had a vague recollection of what happened, who went to the police and who agreed to wear a wire at the behest of detectives.
The man helped lead police to get search warrants and seize Poindexter’s cellphone and hard drive.
That man, Jordan said, was a hero.
Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.