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Brittany Lawonn, Published May 12 2008

Michael Waller sentenced to 22 years in prison for 2005 rape of elderly West Fargo woman

FARGO – A judge here has sentenced a 24-year-old man to serve at least 22 years in prison for the 2005 knifepoint rape of an elderly West Fargo woman.

East Central Judicial District Judge Douglas Herman sentenced Michael Jerome Waller Jr. to life in prison, first to serve 22 years, with the balance suspended for a period of 10 years of supervised probation.

Waller also received a 10-year sentence for a felony burglary charge. He must also register as a sex offender for life.

He pleaded guilty April 9 to felony charges of gross sexual imposition and burglary stemming from the November 15, 2005 incident.

Waller apologized for his actions Monday during three separate statements to the court and said he takes full responsibility.

“I will never be able to put behind me what I’ve done to you,” he told the victim. “That alone is a life sentence.”

As Herman read his sentence, the victim leaned over and said “not happy with that” to the woman sitting next to her. The victim, who is now 75, had asked Herman for the maximum sentence of life without parole.

Waller was arrested last September in New York after authorities used DNA to link him to the case. Police received tips that Waller should be considered a suspect.

Waller lived five blocks from the victim, who was 73 at the time of the incident, according to court documents.

Waller was required to give a DNA sample following his release from a New York jail after serving a nine-month sentence for trying to sexually assault a 22-year-old woman. Authorities linked that sample to the 2005 rape.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Forum.