Jackson man facing life in prison following sexual assault conviction
JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - A Jackson man is facing life in prison after being convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree, Unlawful Imprisonment and other crimes.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka confirmed Thursday that a jury returned a guilty verdict for those charges, as well as for Interfering with Electronic Communications, for Najee Thompson, 24, from Jackson.
The maximum possible penalty for Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 1st Degree is Life in the Department of Corrections.
The convictions stem from an incident in Summit Township on October 8, 2019, which resulted in the sexual assault and unlawful imprisonment of a 18-year-old woman from Howell.
Police said Thompson met the Howell woman, who was 18 years old at the time, through social media. They talked online until she sent him a nude photograph.
The woman testified that she had sent Thompson the nude photo as a sample, so he could decide if he wanted to buy more before they met in person. However, when they met at the Jackson location, Thompson forced the woman to drive to a different location in Summit Township.
She said Thompson threatened to post her nude photos if she did not agree to sex with him. He was supposed to pay her for the sexual encounter, but refused. He instead threatened to stab her if she did not have sex with him.
The woman fled and called 911, but Thompson caught up to her and dragged her back to the car. Police received calls from multiple people in the area at the time about a woman screaming.
Thompson fled the scene when police arrived, but was arrested shortly after. Nearly two years later, Prosecutor Jarzynka said a jury has returned a verdict of guilty.
“First off, I want to thank the jury for doing their civic duty to serve as jurors. We are very pleased with the verdict,” said Prosecutor Jarzynka. “I also want to thank the Prosecution trial team of Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kati Rezmierski, Assistant Prosecutor Kelsey Guernsey, and Det./Sgt Bryan Huttenlocker and Sgt. Tom Freeman of the Sheriff’s Department for doing an outstanding job in both preparing and presenting the case to the jury.”
A sentencing date has been scheduled for August 11, before Circuit Court Judge Edward Grant.
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