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Kalamazoo SAKI team secures another prison sentence

Posted at 2:56 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 14:56:13-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A Kalamazoo man convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault will spend more than two decades in prison.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting announced the sentence Wednesday.

The Kalamazoo Sexual Assault Kit Initiative handled the case.

Last month, a jury convicted Jamaal Vincent, 38, after a trial that lasted almost two weeks.

In addition to the two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Vincent was convicted as a fourth habitual offender.

Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Pamela Lightvoet sentenced Vincent on Wednesday afternoon to 25-50 years in prison on the first county and 20-40 years on the second count. The sentences will run concurrently.

“Justice has now really been served,” the survivor in this case said in a victim impact statement. “I can now go and get gas and I won’t see you at the pump as I pull up to the gas station. I won’t have to see you at all. You deserve all of what comes to you and more. Now, every day while sitting in that small cell behind bars, you will realize all the hurt you did to me and the other two women. Maybe even more. It feels like so much weight being lifted off my shoulders now.”

The case stemmed from an October 2009 assault.

The victim, who was 18 at the time, immediately reported to the police and underwent a sexual assault medical forensic exam, Nessel’s office said.

Her sexual assault kit was not submitted for testing until the 2016 statewide testing initiative.

DNA testing identified Vincent and corroborated the victim’s 2009 report.

The other assaults were also previously reported to law enforcement but weren’t pursued until the Kalamazoo SAKI began reinvestigating the 2009 assault, which started in 2019 and led to charges against Vincent in August 2019.

“I continue to be proud of the work being done in Kalamazoo and around the state to secure justice for survivors who long thought they would never see their abuser held accountable,” Nessel said. “We know there’s a pattern in these cases: People who commit sexual offenses will continue to offend until they are stopped and held accountable by the court system. Our SAKI teams are doing just that.”

The two survivors in the other cases also testified during the trial last month, and officials say their testimony likely helped obtain the conviction.

They also submitted victim impact statements for Wednesday’s sentencing.

“I hope you understand the value of time, I hope you understand the mental trauma that we all are dealing with and I hope you understand that this man is in fact a terrorist and the only hope that I have left lays in your hands,” one statement reads in part. “The justice system failed us 10 years ago. Although your sentencing will never give me time back, hopefully it will help me mentally knowing he is gone for good.”

The other statement reads in part, “I’m 100% sure my life would have turned out a little bit different if Jamaal hadn’t done what he did to me. Jamaal is a sick individual.”

READ MORE: New approach to sex assault investigations is getting results, changing lives of survivors