Ringleader in kidnapping, gang rape of Uptown woman gets life sentence

"Mr. Lawson is nothing more than a monster," read the victim's impact statement.
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About a year and a half after he and two teens forcibly kidnapped a woman outside her Uptown apartment and gang-raped her, Deonte Lawson is headed to prison and never getting out again. 

The 24-year-old Minneapolis resident was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

According to a release from the Hennepin County attorney's office, the sentence is the result of a grand jury indictment that allows for a life sentence "for particularly heinous sex crimes or a pattern of sex crimes."

It's a fitting description for what happened to the victim the night of Oct. 15, 2017. 

Charging documents say she was getting something out of the trunk of her car outside her apartment when three young men approached and forced her to get into the vehicle at gunpoint.

They drove to a White Castle for food — using her credit card to pay for it — while she was in the backseat, and then took her to a "secluded, wooded area," where she was forced to perform sex acts on the trio. 

She was also held by two of them while the other raped her. Afterwards, they took her to a remote, rural area in Washington County, where she managed to convince them to stop for gas — and used this moment to escape.

You can read more about her harrowing ordeal right here

The sentencing

At Thursday's sentencing, a victim advocate read the woman's impact statement, and it did not mince words about Lawson and the things he did that night.

She said that the defendant had taken away her "drive and outgoing personality" and replaced it with anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other physical and emotional scars."

“I am smarter, braver and stronger than Mr. Lawson ever counted on,” she wrote in the statement.

"I am a survivor. And I know I am not his first victim, but I am going to make damn sure I am his last. Mr. Lawson is nothing more than a monster. I looked him in the eyes during my testimony and I saw the cold, evil, lifelessness I remember seeing in Oct. 2017.”

Lawson's two accomplices, who were 16 and 17 at the time, have also been convicted in the case and are both expected to receive 12-year prison sentences.

All three were convicted with the help of DNA evidence. 

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