DATE: August 2, 2021

CASE:  Justin Wharton (Case #20FE012411)

PROSECUTOR: Deputy District Attorney TeriAnn Grimes, Adult Sexual Assault Prosecution Unit

The Honorable Timothy Frawley sentenced Justin Wharton to 75 years to life in prison after Wharton pled to three counts of sexual assault charges.  Wharton admitted to allegations that the offenses were committed during a residential burglary against multiple victims on all counts.  He also admitted to tying and binding allegations on two counts.

On November 23, 2012, the 26-year-old victim was in bed when Wharton jumped on top of her, punched her several times and duct taped her hands and feet together. Wharton sexually assaulted the victim and fled the apartment.  On December 7, 2012, a 37-year-old victim was entering the front door of her apartment when Wharton struck her from behind and pushed her into the apartment. The victim begged Wharton to stop, but Wharton duct taped the victim’s head and her hands and feet before proceeding to sexually assault her. Wharton concealed his face during both assaults and no suspects were identified but DNA was collected.

On May 15, 2020, Wharton entered the apartment of the six-year-old victim while her mother was in the shower. When the mother got out of the shower, the victim told her that a man was in the apartment and sexually assaulted her while her two younger siblings were present.  The suspect left his DNA.  The mother immediately called the police, but no suspect was located.  The District Attorney’s Crime Lab analyzed DNA evidence from the scene and a hit was made to two 2012 cold home invasion rape cases, but the identity of the DNA contributor was unknown.

On July 31, 2020, Wharton returned to the apartment complex where the child he had assaulted on May 15, 2020 lived.  The victim saw him and pointed him out to her mother as the man that was in their apartment.  Wharton fled on foot to his parked van. Witnesses obtained a plate number, which led law enforcement to Wharton.  A warrant was obtained for a sample of Wharton’s DNA, which matched the DNA from the child sexual assault and the November and December 2012 sexual assault cases.

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