Speculator man loses appeal of rape sentence
HAMILTON COUNTY An appeal for a lighter sentence for Kevin R. Shepherd, convicted of raping a 79-year-old woman, has been rejected by the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department.
Shepherd, 41, of Speculator, was convicted in Hamilton County Court in 2003 of first-degree rape and second-degree burglary. The jury concluded Shepherd was guilty of having sex with the elderly woman while she was unconscious. During the trial Shepherd argued the sex was consensual, it had happened once before and that he had gone to the woman’s house that day to deliver her mail.
He was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for the rape charge and 15 years for the burglary, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Shepherd, represented by Mayfield-based attorney Ronald Schur, argued in his appeal that the sentence was too harsh because it would not have been unreasonable for the jury to believe his claim that the sex was consensual. In the appeal Schur argued that several “evidentiary errors” occurred during the trial, including the testimony of six witnesses who described the victim’s condition one day after the alleged rape had occurred.
A panel of judges rejected Shepherd’s appeal and Schur’s arguments about the witnesses.
“We are unpersuaded that defendant’s sentence is harsh and excessive. In view of the serious nature of the crime, the victim’s age and vulnerability and defendant’s failure to admit responsibility, we find no abuse of discretion or extraordinary circumstances warranting a modification,” wrote court clerk Robert D. Mayberger.
Schur said Thursday that he doesn’t know if his client will seek an appeal to the New York Court of Appeals. Schur said the court would have to grant permission for another appeal of the sentence.