For Immediate Release 7/19/2017
West Baltimore—Judge Avery Sentenced Lenny Epps to Life plus 20 years for first degree rape and the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence.
Earlier this year, Epps was convicted of eight counts—including first degree rape, false imprisonment, and using a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence— stemming from a rape and seven-hour standoff with police in 2015.
Assistant State's Attorneys Michele Lambert and Mimi Zhuravitsky prosecuted the case.
On October 10, 2015, Epps was discussing his relationship with his girlfriend—the victim in this case— when she left to go to work. When she returned from work, Epps tried to initiate sex with the woman, but was told "no" because she believed he was cheating.
Epps then asked how long he would be denied sex before declaring, "Turn over, we going to do this **** my way today." Epps pressed the tip of an ice pick against the side of her neck. While straddling the woman, Epps reached over to the night stand and grabbed a set of white ropes.
Using the ropes, Epps bound the woman's hands then tied her left wrist to her left ankle and her right wrist to her right ankle. He used a pair of scissors to cut the woman's clothes off. Next, Epps propped the woman up on pillows, retrieved Vaseline from the bathroom, and began his assault.
During the attack, he forced the woman to drink vodka to "put her in the mood." She protested, but was forced to drink until she vomited. Epps then placed a sock into her mouth and duct taped her mouth shut. Throughout the attack, Epps held a gun to the woman.
The woman asked Epps to loosen the restraints so that she could use the bathroom. While she was in the bathroom, Epps ordered delivery food. The woman escaped by climbing out of the bathroom window when she heard Epps go downstairs to speak with the delivery driver.
The woman—naked— ran across the porch roofs of her neighbors' homes as she was being chased by Epps. At the end of the row, she jumped to the ground, fracturing her hip. Despite her injury, she continued to run as Epps chased behind her with the gun. Three witnesses came to the woman's aid during the chase.
Epps broke off pursuit and returned to the street where the woman lived in the 2700 block of Baker Street. He began banging on the window of a resident who lived two doors down from the victim. The neighbor ran screaming from her home, and Epps forced his way inside. At some point, Epps left that residence, and returned to his victim's home where he barricaded himself inside.
Baltimore Police Department's SWAT team was called, and a seven-hour standoff ensued. Epps eventually surrendered after speaking to his lawyer.
"Women have the right to determine the fate of their bodies," said State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosby. "Obviously this man had no respect for a women's right to say 'no' and thankfully he is now being accountable for his heinous and assaultive actions."
During the 2017 legislative session, the Office of the State's Attorney for Baltimore City successfully championed legislation to better protect victims of sexual assault, including the passage of a bill that will remove evidence of physical resistance as a requirement to prove a sex crime and another bill that will require the retention of rape kits for at least 20 years and the notification of victims regarding rape kit disposal.
Notably, Epps was previously convicted in 1986 for Tampering with a Witness of Murder and a Civil Rights Violation after participating in the killing of an informant who testified before a grand jury.