Cape man sentenced in sex assault
A man accused of sexually battering a Cape Coral woman in her home last year while armed with a large knife received life in prison Wednesday.
A jury found Terrell Beckwith, 62, guilty of sexual battery with a deadly weapon or great force, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping with a firearm, sexual battery possessing a firearm and attempted sexual battery with a deadly weapon or great force following a trial this week.
The jury reportedly took only an hour and a half to deliberate.
“Beckwith was sentenced to life in prison immediately following his conviction,” Samantha Syoen, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said Thursday.
The case was handled by Assistant State Attorneys Denise Kiser and Amanda Hutchison.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case,” Syoen said. “It will hopefully bring closure to this violent crime for the victim.”
Defense attorney Marisa Boysen represented Beckwith.
Boysen did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.
On Nov. 15, 2010, Cape police responded to a 911 call from a Cape Coral home at 9:39 a.m. The caller reported that she had been violently attacked by her housemate, as well as sexually assaulted.
The victim and her husband had been renting the housemate, Beckwith, a room in their home for four months, according to police. Beckwith and the victim argued about groceries and him possibly moving out that morning.
After the argument, the victim began to get ready for the day.
Beckwith then entered the victim’s bedroom with a large hunting knife and stated that he was going to sexually assault the woman before he killed her, police reported. He then attacked her while threatening her with the knife.
The victim reportedly was able to retrieve a handgun that was on a nightstand, but she said Beckwith wrestled the weapon away from her.
As the victim was pleading for her life, her husband returned home and witnessed the attack. He intervened, and Beckwith fled the home.
The U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force caught him two days later.
Beckwith was found in a wooded area near Janis Road and Burnt Store Road, according to police. He was hiding from authorities by living out of his car.
“This was a tremendous effort by our detectives, forensics personnel and our uniformed patrol officers,” Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the CCPD, said in a prepared statement Thursday. “They presented a rock-solid case to the State Attorney’s Office, who tried a tremendous case.”
Prior to the November 2010 attack, Beckwith had prior arrests for murder, escape and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to police.
“Swift justice is what our victim needed,” Sizemore added.