Crime

'I'm not a monster,' Gulfport man said, but videos captured what he did to his ex

Joshua Lamar Dallas
Joshua Lamar Dallas

They were arguing on the telephone when he told her he was coming to her apartment.

She said, "No," not realizing Joshua Lamar Dallas, her ex-boyfriend, was already outside. He had been there the night before, too, and was mad about the people he had seen coming to visit.

They were still on the telephone when he busted down her door. They fought. He overturned and damaged furniture, threw her into a living room window that broke.

He grabbed a knife from her kitchen block and held it to her throat. He forced her into her bedroom and raped her.

He allowed her to dress, forced her into his car and drove her to his apartment on Rippy Road. There, the 34-year-old truck mechanic forced her to masturbate while he videoed her with his cellphone. He raped her again, too, recording all the while.

If she told anyone, he said, he would put the video online.

After Dallas released the 25-year-old woman, she went to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport for a rape examination. Forensic testing later identified his semen.

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

Gulfport police Detective Sgt. Kelley Clark related these facts and more on the witness stand Thursday in Circuit Court. She first met the victim at the hospital.

"She was afraid," Clark said. "She was crying. Her clothes were disheveled, messed up." The victim was angry, too, Clark said.

Clark secured the videos from his cellphone, letters he wrote to the victim from jail after his arrest on two rape and one kidnapping charge, a record of the phone call he made to her within six days of bonding out of jail, even though he was supposed to have no contact with his victim.

The weight of evidence against Dallas stunned family members in the courtroom. All along, Dallas had been telling his family the rape and kidnapping didn't happen, his brother-in-law, Shaun Sumrall, later said outside the courtroom.

Sumrall said Dallas told them: "That's not me. I'm not a monster."

Assistant District Attorney Crosby Parker said his office was prepared to put Dallas on trial earlier this month but, at the last minute, Dallas agreed to plead guilty to kidnapping and to one of the rape charges.

He wanted to change his mind Thursday about the guilty plea. Dallas was clearly angry after the detective testified and he was unable to offer any mitigating evidence. His mother left the courtroom, forgoing the opportunity to speak on his behalf.

Judge Roger Clark was about to sentence Dallas when his attorney, public defender Lisa Collums, said her client had something further to say.

"Right now," he told the judge, "the deck is stacked against me. ... It's like I'm being thrown to the wolves and not given a fighting chance.

"I can't argue with what (Parker) is saying, because I can't question the victim. She's not here."

Parker had been afraid Dallas would try to back out of the plea, he told the judge. They had discussed it during the plea hearing, when Dallas was fully advised of the ramifications that went with the guilty plea.

"What he is not happy about is that this is his day to be held accountable and get his sentence," Parker said. "That is not a reason he can withdraw his plea."

Judge Clark agreed. He said he wasn't there to lecture Dallas about his serious crimes but to administer justice.

Judge Clark sentenced Dallas to 30 years in prison. Dallas shuffled quietly out of court the same way he came in -- in a striped prison jumpsuit and shackles.

His victim was not in court. Parker said she was just ready for her ordeal to end.

Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

Anita Lee can be reached at 228-896-2331 or @CAnitaLee1
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