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Convicted rapist likely to spend rest of his life in prison

Donald Thomas sentenced to 70-years for 1998 rape
Posted at 4:22 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 16:22:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS—A 55-year-old man convicted in a 1998 rape case is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Donald Thomas was sentenced Friday to 70-years behind bars for the rape of a woman in her apartment on the Indianapolis northwest side. A Marion County jury convicted Thomas earlier this month.

“We are pleased with the sentence ordered today. The defendant had 20-years of undeserved freedom before justice was served,” said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.

On the day of the assault, according to the prosecutor, Thomas had asked the victim if he could use her phone. He was allowed inside, attempted to make a phone call and left. He returned a short time later and placed a gun to the victim’s head before sexually assaulting her. Afterwards, Thomas left the apartment through the front door. The victim jumped from her second floor balcony to escape and call for help.

At the time, police did not have enough evidence to make an arrest. But 17-years later, IMPD cold case investigators
reviewed the case and submitted for testing the DNA evidence collected during the initial investigation. In Oct. 2016, investigators were notified of a DNA match which identified Thomas as the suspect. He was arrested last year in Wisconsin.

“The victim in this matter endured 21-years without the perpetrator being held accountable, and we are pleased that the perseverance of our deputy prosecutors and IMPD investigators has resulted in justice for her,” said Curry. “As the victim stated at the completion of trial, this verdict represents the first day of the rest of her life.”