URBANA — A Champaign County jury took just one hour Wednesday to convict an Urbana man of raping a woman who was asleep in her own home two years ago.

Kevin Finley, 28, faces decades behind bars when he is sentenced July 18 by Judge Randy Rosenbaum for aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

The trial began Tuesday morning with chilling testimony from the now-29-year-old woman, who was living on Villa Lane in Urbana and attending the University of Illinois when her life was so rudely upended.

She testified that at 2 a.m. July 8, 2021, she was sleeping on her back when she was awakened by a man wearing a headlamp around his forehead and holding an object to her left cheek.

“I thought it was a gun because it was cold and metallic. He said, ‘Wake up. If you move, I will shoot you,’” she recounted.

She then calmly told the jury how she obeyed his commands to turn over and described how he removed her pajama pants and underwear — which were never found — rubbed something on her genitals, then continued to rape her.

“He said, ‘I promise it will be short,’” she said of the assault.

Her iPhone, on which she had a sleep-tracking app open, was beside her pillow and remained there throughout the assault. Months later, she testified, she recalled that the app recorded sounds made during her sleep. Checking it, she found recordings of the intruder’s voice, which she later gave to Urbana police.

Exhaustive investigation

The victim testified that after the man finished his attack, he told her to shower and followed her into the bathroom while she did so. She said he allowed her to pull the curtain closed and she could see the shadow of what she through was a gun through it. She let water flow over her body but avoided cleaning herself thoroughly in hopes of not destroying evidence.

When she was finished, he ordered her to open her legs and inspected her sex organs, using the headlamp to get a closer look.

The woman testified that he asked if she had a roommate. She told him she did but lied that she wasn’t there, fearing he might harm her as well. The intruder then left out the sliding glass door to her ground-floor apartment, she said.

She immediately called police, who began an exhaustive investigation that included an exam of the victim at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana and an Illinois State Police crime-scene technician lifting footwear impressions and collecting other physical evidence from the woman’s apartment.

Although the jury never got details on how, Detective Ken Sprague said Finley was developed as a suspect right away. He initially questioned him on July 10 and again on July 16, the same day Finley was arrested on charges of selling drugs. A separate case of methamphetamine delivery against Finley remains unresolved.

At the time he was charged, police said Finley was suspected of grabbing and slapping the buttocks of several women who walked alone in Urbana.

He was not charged with sexual assault in the incident at the woman’s apartment until July 29.

The jury heard more than two hours of Sprague’s interviews with Finley, whose phone and Nike Air Force 1 shoes were taken as evidence. He denied assaulting the woman.

A forensic analysis of his phone showed he had been quite active on it the day before the assault but not for about 40 minutes between about 1:35 a.m. and 2:05 a.m. on July 8, the window during which the woman said she was being assaulted. His phone activity resumed shortly after 2 a.m.

Geolocation data for the phone put it in the area of the woman’s apartment during the time of the assault.

‘In awe of’ victim’s composure

Additionally, the jury saw surveillance video from another building aimed at the woman’s apartment that showed a figure approaching her windows about 10:40 p.m. July 7 and again about 1:30 a.m. July 8. Surveillance video from a Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus showed Finley in the area about 10:40 p.m.

A retired state crime lab analyst who compared the footwear impressions lifted from the victim’s apartment to Finley’s shoes testified that they were very similar but couldn’t say with certainty that Finley’s shoes left the impressions.

Biological evidence collected from the woman had male DNA in it, and state crime lab DNA experts said Finley was a possible contributor.

Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones called one witness on Finley’s behalf who had told police there was a suspicious man in the neighborhood quite a bit for days prior to the sex assault but picked out a different person than Finley from a photo array of six men.

Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Alferink argued that the totality of the evidence pointed to Finley as the rapist and that even though a gun was never found, there was no doubt that was the object he used to gain the woman’s submission.

Miller-Jones argued that the victim could not identify Finley, nor did she see a gun. She said the state’s case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence that did not prove Finley guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because the jury found he used a dangerous weapon during the criminal sexual assault, Finley faces 16 to 40 years to be served at 85 percent time and another possible three to 14 years for aggravated criminal sexual abuse to be served after that.

Urbana police Lt. Mike Cervantes applauded the efforts of both patrol officers and his detectives in putting together a complicated case.

He also credited the victim, now doing post-doctoral work at Harvard, for having the presence of mind to preserve evidence and the ability to tell police, prosecutors and a jury what happened to her.

“I can’t imagine what she’s going through, but her testimony and her ability to maintain composure throughout the incident and through the trial was something to be in awe of,” Cervantes said.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).