Man pleads guilty to Carolina Beach kidnapping, rape; to serve decades in prison is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

John Thomas Barnette
John Thomas Barnette

A Duplin County man was sentenced to more than two decades in prison after pleading guilty to a violent sexual assault on a 24-year-old woman at a Carolina Beach motel.

John Thomas Barnette, 49, pleaded guilty Oct. 8 in New Hanover County Superior Court to charges of second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and assault by strangulation, according to Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan. The case was scheduled for trial on Monday.

The sexual assault occurred at the Drifters Reef Motel, 701 N. Lake Park Blvd., in Carolina Beach on March 21.  Barnette held the 24-year-old victim against her will at the motel room and raped her, according to a news release about the plea from District Attorney Ben David.

Guests at the motel heard the victim’s screams as she begged her attacker to let her go. The guests banged on the door in an effort to stop the attack, but the defendant placed a pillow over the victim’s face to keep her quite, David said. Several people called 911 to report what they heard.

Police arrived on scene and the victim was still crying for help. Officers kicked in the door and saw the victim crawling on her hands and knees across the bed toward them, David said. The victim was partially dressed, red faced and crying hysterically.

The woman suffered injuries to her face and neck. She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment. Evidence from the sexual assault collection kit revealed defendant’s DNA, David said.

“The act of sexual assault is unquestionably one the highest violations of another human,” Carolina Beach Police Chief Christopher Spivey said. “The Carolina Beach Police Department is keenly aware of this fact and committed to assisting the victims and prosecution.”

According to Jordan, the victim was traumatized by the attack.

“She fought against the defendant during the entire attack, but was unable to get away. The effects from this type of crime often stay with victims for the remainder of their lives,” Jordan said.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Barnette had previously served four months of prison time for an assault with a deadly weapon conviction on Sept. 15, 2014, in New Hanover County. He was released from prison in January. He has also been convicted of eight felonies and more than 50 misdemeanors in New Hanover, Pender, Duplin, Montgomery and Sampson counties.

Barnette was ordered to serve 22 to 32 and a half years in the N.C. Department of Corrections. Upon his release from prison, Barnette is required to register as a sex offender and is subject satellite-based monitoring for life. Jordan said the state is satisfied with the outcome of the case.