JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused of rape in February after an attack on a mother in Bartram Park had his trial date delayed this week when his lawyer withdrew from the case.
Sion Khadeem Henry, 25, has pleaded not guilty to the sexual battery of a woman behind a Bartram Park shopping center Feb. 19, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
His trial was set to begin Monday, but it has been postponed because his lawyer dropped the case, citing a conflict. Henry was appointed a new lawyer, but no new trial date has been set.
According to his arrest warrant, Henry was tied to the crime with DNA evidence collected from the victim through a rape kit.
The state said if convicted, the recommended sentence would be 129 months to 30 years.
The victim positively identified Henry in a lineup, and then ran out of the room crying, police said.
Assistant Chief Scott Dingee said that tips came in to the Sheriff's Office within 90 minutes of police releasing information about Henry and his car on Feb. 26. Police found the car parked behind a shopping center in Mandarin and arrested Henry about 2:30 p.m. as he was returning to the car from his job at a landscaping company.
"I'm very confident in the investigation that was conducted, and that we do have the right person in custody," Dingee said. "Obviously, he has a right to go through the legal system, but certainly, I believe that we have the right person, and that we have removed a dangerous person from the streets of Jacksonville."
Dingee thanked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for its help in quickly processing evidence that led to Henry being identified as a suspect in the case.
Henry, who is charged with sexual battery and strong-arm robbery, is accused of raping a woman behind the Shoppes at Bartram Park on Old St. Augustine Road.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, Henry followed the woman leaving the grocery store to walk home, grabbed her stroller with her baby son inside, and threatened to push it into a retention pond. He then dragged the victim onto a mattress and sexually assaulted her while continuing to make threats against her baby.
She told officers she scratched Henry in the face, and he left, taking her cellphone and an undisclosed amount of cash with him. She was treated for injuries, and her baby was not hurt.
According to police, Henry was trying to get the victim's attention and was making cat calls, when he followed her to the back of the plaza and raped her.