In the 1980’s Alfred Berry terrorized women in New Orleans. He raped a number of women and the assaults haunted them for years. One victim reportedly ended her life after jurors deadlocked on one of Alfred Berry’s rape charges.
But on Friday, survivors stood together and hugged after a judge sentenced Berry to 35 years in prison. DNA evidence this month produced rape convictions that prosecutors failed to secure in the 1980s.
DNA science was still extremely new when Berry originally went on trial.
“You can’t fool science, thank God,” one of the women said.
Nola.com reports, Berry, 52, pleaded guilty to six counts of second-degree rape and six counts of second-degree kidnapping at a hearing before Criminal District Court Judge Dennis Waldron earlier this month.
Under a plea agreement, his charges were reduced from aggravated kidnapping and first-degree rape counts that would have carried life sentences.
According to Nola.com:
Berry was accused of raping an 18-year-old in a Treme residence on July 26, 1986, while he held a knife to the throat of her boyfriend; raping at gunpoint the woman in Bywater who testified Friday; raping a 51-year-old woman in her French Quarter home on Aug. 26, 1986; grabbing and raping a 21-year-old woman in the 2200 block of Pine Street in Uptown on Nov. 21, 1986; raping an 18-year-old woman at knifepoint in the 2300 block of Barracks Street in Treme on March 14, 1987; and binding and raping a woman in her French Quarter home in the 1000 block of Barracks Street on March 29, 1987.
In victim-impact statements delivered at Berry’s formal sentencing on Friday, several women reportedly expressed relief that he will stay behind bars.
Three women spoke in person, and prosecutors read statements on behalf of two others.
One woman addressed Berry from the witness stand saying, “when this happened to me, I was 16 years old. You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you.”
“I have been surrounded with love and support, care, guidance and patience,” the woman continued. “They have helped me to never give up, and helped me to know that I can survive, and I will survive.”