A serial rapist about to be sentenced forgave his victims in a statement to court on Monday. In response, the judge in Alabama responsible for his case criticized him sharply – and also expressed criticism of the victims.
In September, Johnathan Fitzgerald Lockett, 42, who goes by “Master Lockett,” was sentenced to twelve criminal offenses for sexual harassment of five women over a period of several years.
Lockett was originally arrested in November 2020, according to a report Press release issued by the Birmingham Police Department. He was originally charged with attempted rape, sodomy and kidnapping — all first-degree — for attacking two women in separate incidents that same month and in December 2019.
Over time, investigators linked the convicted man to numerous other sexual assaults and brought charges against him over 30 crimes.
While the state alleged that Lockett sexually assaulted, raped, kidnapped and tortured over a dozen women, he was only tried for twelve different crimes. He was found guilty on all charges – including five counts of sodomy, four counts of robbery and one count each of rape, sexual torture and theft. A charge was dropped during the trial after prosecutors determined that an alleged victim’s testimony did not support a previous rape claim, according to a court report AL.com.
Content warning: graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
During the trial, which began in late August, prosecutors proved that Lockett targeted women online – through escort websites and social media dating apps – and promised them money before brutally sexually abusing them.
In one case, the defendant repeatedly raped a woman who worked as a dancer before starting sex work to support herself. After raping her, Lockett stole her pistol and then used the weapon to rape another woman. AL.com reported.
Lockett represented his own defense. He testified that he did nothing wrong, that all of the sex he had with each of the women was consensual, and that he filmed the encounters to prove it.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Isabella Colombo asked Lockett if he would stop if a woman asked him out. The defendant answered in the affirmative.
Prosecutors then showed a video of the defendant raping a woman as she screamed in pain and said, “Please, please, please, no, no, no.”
After seven hours of deliberations, he was sentenced on September 5th. Sentencing was originally scheduled for October but was postponed.
On Monday, before the judge announced the sentence, Lockett refused to admit guilt and said he had forgiven his victim, AL.com reported.
“The Lord is on my side and I will not be afraid,” the convicted rapist said.
In response, District Judge Shanta Craig Owens commented on the shocking statement with various observations and criticisms.
“For you to forgive them is a slap in the face,” the judge reportedly said. “The evidence against you was overwhelming.”
Owens also addressed some critical words to the women.
“As these victims came and testified one by one, it became clear that they were all very credible, even though their work was not a noble profession,” the judge reportedly said. AL.com reported. “These were simple beliefs. The jury believed every single one of them.”
The judge also praised the women for their testimony.
“I’m so happy that every victim came forward because I think it would have been very easy for them to say, ‘I did sex work and that’s why I don’t want to continue,'” Owens reportedly said.
Law&Crime reached out to the court for comment or clarification on these comments, but there was no immediate response.
Owens continued to criticize the defendant, saying, “I hope you will atone for your illness and your sins.”
Lockett was sentenced to 776 years in prison. The sentence was judged to be continuous.
The sentence, which means he will likely die in prison, was also an issue for the judge to consider.
Owens reportedly reminded the defendant that the state had offered him a 20-year sentence if he accepted a plea deal. She reportedly recalled her own words that prosecutors should be fired if the state lost because the case was clearly against him. Owens then reportedly offered Lockett one final memory: how she told him to talk to people he loves before trying to win an impossible case in court.
“That’s what I’ve been thinking about throughout the whole process: Didn’t he talk to anyone who loved him?” Owens asked aloud.
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