Plea Deal Ends Rape Case

A 30-year-old Augusta man accused of rape pleaded guilty Friday to reduced charges. storyPhotos();

William E. Hayes pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to aggravated assault and kidnapping. Judge Duncan D. Wheale accepted the attorneys' plea negotiation for a 20-year prison sentence.

In the early hours of Sept. 8, 2006, the YMCA's cleaning staff answered frantic knocking on the door and found the victim, half-naked and badly beaten, Assistant District Attorney Adam King said.

The woman told investigators she had met a man at a club earlier in the evening. They left to get a snack and later took a walk around a city park, but the man pulled out a box cutter when she refused his sexual advances, Mr. King said. He forced her into his car and drove to a Marks Chapel church where he dragged her across a parking lot, beat her and raped her, Mr. King said.

Defense attorney Michael Arrington told the judge Mr. Hayes first denied the allegations but has since decided to change his life and admit to his crimes.

Mr. Hayes told the judge he has started a prison ministry to help others.

Mr. Hayes had a prior battery conviction and was on probation at the time of the attack. He was convicted of forgery in 2002.

Mr. Hayes will get credit for the time he has spent in jail since his arrest, leaving him with 18 years to serve. He will be eligible for parole.