Court overturns serial rape suspect's conviction

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Bruce McCray appears in court.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man accused of being a serial rapist who is serving a life sentence on his conviction in one case will get a new trial.

Bruce McCray was convicted in 2011 and sentenced last year.

The victim in that 2009 attack didn't testify, and the First District Court of Appeals ruled the trial judge "abused her discretion" by allowing prosecutors to rely too much on the testimony of two other victims.

McCray was not on trial in those attacks.

The appeals court also found the trial judge should have granted a direct acquittal at the conclusion of the prosecution's case.

In October 2009, the victim was walking along West 26th Street when police said McCray pulled up in a car, kidnapped her at gunpoint, drove her to a vacant home and raped her. Investigators said McCray then took off and left the victim in the vacant home.

At the time of trial, however, the victim could not be located and the state proceeded with medical testimony regarding injuries, DNA evidence and similar fact testimony from two additional victims.

McCray was previously charged in five other sex crimes involving other victims who were not cooperative and/or could not be located. He pleaded guilty to lesser included offenses in those cases and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, to run concurrently to the life sentence.

This is the fourth time in recent weeks the appeals court has thrown out a Duval County case because of mistakes made by trial judges.

Those cases include Marissa Alexander's conviction and 20-year sentence for armed aggravated assault; Kyle Bass' life sentence in his murder conviction; and the 30-year sentence given convicted rapist Percy Torres.

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