Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Judge hands rapist 13-year sentence

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A Winnipeg gang associate has been handed a 13-year prison sentence for a random carjacking, kidnapping and rape of a teen girl that sent police on an hours-long chase in an effort to apprehend him.

Clay Byron Starr, 22, learned his fate Thursday through a written decision delivered by provincial court Judge Brent Stewart, who slammed Starr for his conduct.

"Kidnapping this young girl, threatening her life and body throughout the ordeal and ultimately savagely sexually assaulting her calls for denunciation at the highest level," said Stewart. "I believe this to be one of the most grave kidnapping and sexual assaults the courts in this jurisdiction has seen."

Starr pleaded guilty earlier this year to several charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, flight from police and robbery in connection to events that unfolded on June 22, 2011.

Starr hopped into a parked car a 16-year-old girl was sitting in in the Brooklands area of the city. A prior injury made it difficult for her to move or flee.

"I believe this to be one of the most grave kidnapping and sexual assaults the courts in this jurisdiction has seen." -- Judge Brent Stewart

She managed to call 911 from a cellphone while in the sedan's back seat, pleading with Starr, "I don't want to die." The victim left the line open, allowing police to track where Starr was heading and get a sense of what was happening.

Stewart credited her for her "wisdom and common sense."

Starr drove west out of the city -- driving as fast as 180 km/h -- eventually stopping on Highway 26 where he told the girl to get out of the car and he began driving away.

She flagged down a 21-year-old man in a Pontiac Sunfire. Starr then reappeared and ordered both into the man's car. "I'm a Manitoba Warrior. I got a 9mm. I'm taking your car," Starr commanded.

The offender took off in the Sunfire with the girl still inside, dragging the 21-year-old man several metres behind the vehicle before he managed to free himself.

After the Sunfire broke down, Starr raped the girl as they walked towards a farmhouse. He made comments about raping her again and said he was going to kill her by drowning her, court previously heard.

The girl managed to flee and hide in some dense bush as Starr was trying to steal another truck.

"Had she not, it is unclear what else might have happened," said Stewart.

Starr continued to head west, stopping at a Portage la Prairie gas station where he stole an ATV. By that time, the Winnipeg police helicopter and numerous uniformed officers were on his trail.

After an hour-long pursuit, police found Starr hiding in the marshes near the Portage Diversion.

Stewart lauded efforts by Winnipeg police and the use of the helicopter in bringing Starr to justice.

"This search and the resources put into it reflected the concern and determination of the police services to catch this offender and I suspect their outrage at the offences in question," Stewart said.

The judge wasn't buying Starr's claims the crimes were spontaneous and he remembered little due to being intoxicated by alcohol and pills. Starr's acts of driving the ATV through rough terrain in an attempt to evade capture didn't reflect the abilities of someone who was inebriated, Stewart said.

"I conclude the offender has a selective memory as to these events and his lack of memory must be taken with a grain of salt."

Stewart also noted Starr hadn't taken any rehabilitative programming in custody or prior to his arrest. It's a reflection of a "cavalier attitude" toward the court process, Stewart said.

The lengthy prison term was required to protect the public from Starr and allow him a chance to rehabilitate in custody, Stewart ruled.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 18, 2013 B5

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