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Forum News Service, Published April 20 2013

Duluth man sentenced for his role in sex assault

DULUTH, Minn. - A Duluth man was sentenced to almost 14½ years in prison Friday for taking part in the sexual assault of an intoxicated woman in an alley near Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue East.

Jimmy Lee Morris, 35, was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct using force in the March 19, 2011, assault of a 40-year-old woman. Judge Heather Sweetland sentenced Morris to 173 months in prison and ordered that he register as a sex offender.

Deolow Jacquez Shaw, 21, pleaded guilty in November to first-degree criminal sexual conduct for his role in the assault and will be sentenced on May 13.

According to the criminal complaint: Responding Duluth police officers found the “extremely intoxicated” 40-year-old victim lying in the alley shortly after 1:45 a.m. She had numerous injuries, including a scrape to her jaw, knees bleeding through her jeans, bruises on her arms and cuts to her hands.

The woman told police that men she didn’t know sexually assaulted her numerous times in the alley, in the back seat of a car and in the bathroom of a building. She said one assailant took $60 from her. She said she regained consciousness in the alley with a couple standing over her asking if she wanted them to call the police. She was transported by ambulance to an emergency room.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents noted a Chrysler Concorde with Wisconsin license plates E4728T in the area at about the time the victim was found. A Duluth police officer stopped a vehicle matching that description the next day; Morris was driving the vehicle.

He said he had been driving in Duluth the previous night and that he had given a ride to an unknown group of five to six men and one woman, who matched the description of the victim. He denied any involvement with the men and woman other than driving them two blocks.

Morris provided a DNA sample that was compared with a DNA mixture obtained from a sexual assault examination of the victim. While 99.9999992 percent of the population could be excluded from that DNA mixture, Morris could not be excluded.

The complaint alleges that Shaw told police he saw the victim on the night of the assault and that she was naked and incapacitated. He said he saw others controlling the victim and he stated remorse for not intervening in what he believed was a sexual assault.

DNA testing revealed that Shaw’s DNA profile matched the sperm cell fractions obtained from a vaginal swab of the victim and the jeans she was wearing the night of the assault.

Shaw told St. Louis County Jail staff that he had lied to investigators when interviewed and admitted to the sexual assault, but said he had done it because he had a gun to his head, the complaint alleges.