Crime

Ocean Springs rape victim: ‘I just remember thinking I’m going to die’

Cameron Dwayne May, pictured at a 2016 arraignment hearing, is on trial in an attack on an apartment complex employee.
Cameron Dwayne May, pictured at a 2016 arraignment hearing, is on trial in an attack on an apartment complex employee. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

She remembers her attacker charging toward her and the struggle that followed as he repeatedly hit her in the face and jaw and wrapped his hands around her neck and choked her until she passed out.

Before losing consciousness, she remembers the struggle and her cries for the attack to end.

“I just kept asking him to stop because I have a daughter,” she recalled. “’Why are you doing this? I have a daughter. Please don’t do this.’”

She remembers her fear of never seeing her family, and the moment she realized she could do nothing to stop him.

“I just remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die,’” she said. “I knew I was going to die and I just gave up. There was no more fight in me and that was when I was already on the ground. I just couldn’t get him off of me.”

The Ocean Springs woman testified Tuesday in the trial of her alleged attacker, Cameron Dwayne May.

The Sun Herald does not identify sex-crime victims.

May, 26, of Biloxi, is on trial on charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and two counts of aggravated assault in the Sept. 10, 2015, attack.

When the woman regained consciousness, she was lying in a fetal position on the floor of her then-office at the Dominion Apartments on Holcomb Boulevard in Ocean Springs. Her face was bloodied, her jaw broken in two places and she had bruises all over her body.

She didn’t realize she had been raped, she said, until afterward when she saw her panties on the floor along with her shoes and glasses, which had come off in the struggle. She also suffered a bleed on her brain. Her office had been ransacked.

A rape kit and DNA collected during a physical examination confirmed she had been raped.

May had first come to the apartment complex to ask for a rental application. The attack occurred when he returned the same day.

May admitted Tuesday to attacking and sexually assaulting the woman, though he had at one point denied that. His attorney Melvin Cooper said voices in May’s head commanded him to commit an “evil act.”

Cooper described May as an artist with a mental illness who felt he had been directed to attack someone.

May had started drawing “demonic” creatures as early as the sixth grade. As he got older, he was worshiping a “demonic” God, Cooper said.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence and Assistant District Attorney Bobby Knochel are prosecuting the case. Prosecutors say May has a mental illness but is not criminally insane and knew the difference between right and wrong when he attacked the woman.

In earlier testimony Tuesday, jurors were shown video footage from an Ocean Springs police officer’s body camera. It shows the woman, with a swollen and bloodied face, telling a police officer she had been attacked. She keeps asking to go the hospital.

The video shows the woman’s father arriving at the apartment office and asking his daughter if she had been raped. She says she thinks so.

“I’m going to kill him,” the man tells her.

The state rested its case against May early Tuesday evening. The defense will start arguing its case Wednesday morning.

Margaret Baker: 228-896-0538, @Margar45

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