Champaign man pleads guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault
URBANA — A Champaign man faces up to 70 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 25 after he pleaded guilty in connection with a brutal attack on his neighbor in her home last summer.
Dominique Alexander-Smith, 22, who listed an address in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue, Champaign, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of home invasion and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault. Both are Class X felonies.
Alexander-Smith faces between six and 30 years in prison on the first count and between 16 and 40 years in prison on the second count.
Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber said because of the aggravated criminal sexual assault conviction, state law requires the two sentences be served consecutively.
A charge of armed robbery (for the alleged theft of a debit card) and a second charge of aggravated criminal sexual assault were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Judge Tom Difanis declared a mistrial in the case on May 17 after a jury of eight women and four men were unable to reach unanimous verdicts, and preparations had begun for a second trial.
The charges stemmed from Alexander-Smith's attack on a 26-year-old pregnant woman in her apartment in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue on Aug. 25, 2011. He lived in a nearby apartment in the same complex at the time of the incident.
The woman testified that about 1:30 a.m., he broke through a sliding-glass door on her second-floor balcony, pursued her into her bedroom while armed with a knife, robbed her of a debit card, then raped her repeatedly.
The woman received a swollen cheek and split lip from being hit with a fist and cuts to her hand and legs from trying to get the knife from him. She said she recognized him from living nearby but didn't let on to him that she realized who he was.
The jurors in this spring's trial saw photos depicting the broken door, the woman's injuries, and the bent butcher knife, which was left on her bed after the attack.
They also heard that semen taken from the woman contained Alexander-Smith's DNA and saw surveillance video of him at a nearby ATM within minutes of the attack trying unsuccessfully to use a bank card.
Following his arrest later that same day, Alexander-Smith denied knowing the woman, ever being in her apartment or attacking her.
Alexander-Smith testified during the trial that his sexual encounter with her was consensual. He said she let him in her apartment, they talked briefly and he then went to her bedroom for sex. He said afterward, she had a look of regret about her.
Weber said the woman was telling the truth and that the evidence supported her testimony, while Assistant Public Defender George Vargas argued that the woman made up the story so her boyfriend wouldn't be upset with her for having sex with another man.
Staff writer Mary Schenk contributed to this story.