Michael Sykes convicted of all but one rape charge

Nearly every count Michael Sykes was charged with in a string of west side rapes, he was found guilty of.
It took just two hours for jurors to reach a verdict convicting an accused serial rapist of attacks against five women.

A man suspected of raping several women on the city's northwest side has been convicted on almost every single charge.

The jury was given the case of Michael Sykes around 11:30 Monday morning. He was arrested and charged with 20 different counts of rape and kidnapping.

The jury determined that Sykes was guilty on 19 of the 20 kidnapping, assault and rape charges. Police say he abducted three young women ages 19, 20 and 21, at gunpoint from a gas station at Fenkell and Schaefer. He took them to an abandoned garage on Monica Street and allegedly raped them.

When police ran Sykes' DNA, they were able to link him to two other cases dating back to 2008, when he was 14 years old. The only not guilty was one count of criminal sexual conduct

Sykes, 21, sat quietly this time - a far cry from how the day started when his attorney asked for a mistrial.

"This is America, you're supposed to have a fair trial," said Lillian Diallo, Sykes' attorney. "And I do not believe this time he was afforded a fair trial."

Diallo referenced intense media coverage of her client's attack on a sheriff's deputy last Thursday. It is alleged he choked her, tried to grab her gun but luckily didn't get it. Another deputy stopped the attack.

"You know that there was a fight back there and one of my deputies was knocked out," said Judge Dalton Roberson.

The judge told Diallo her client needs to control himself and this case is going forward.

"I don't know how the press got ahold of it but i'm not going to grant a mistrial," Roberson said.

So many victims had been waiting for justice allegedly raped and kidnapped by Sykes. Attacks date all the way back to march of 2008 when two sisters were robbed at gunpoint, kidnapped and raped.

Another case from March of this year involved three women and acts too horrific - to relay here.

"He was going to engage in a sexual act with these people whether they wanted to or not," said the prosecuting attorney.

Witnesses testified their attacker wore a mask and carried a revolver. During closing arguments the defense attorney questioning the prosecution's case, saying there's just not enough evidence - DNA or otherwise.

"No cuts - no abrasions, no nothing on these young ladies," Diallo said.

Diallo told jurors police didn't fully investigate - leaving evidence behind.

"All of the evidence - not just the evidence that's favorable for conviction, all the evidence is supposed to be presented," she said.

But the prosecutor says it's all quite clear - urging jurors to convict.

"This evidence screams at you," said the prosecutor. "The testimony screams at you that the defendant is the person who committed these acts."

Which is exactly what the jury believed as well.

Sykes will be sentenced October 20. He could likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

What many feel is so unfortunate is that Sykes is a suspect in numerous other cases and it is unclear how many could have been prevented if his DNA had been entered into the system back when he was a juvenile.


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