Sunday, July 14, 2024

Man will face prison time after raping Wilmington woman

Marcel Robertson was convicted of second-degree rape and kidnapping on Monday. (New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office).

WILMINGTON — A three-year-old case involving the second-degree rape and kidnapping of a 26-year-old Wilmington woman has been solved after a Fayettville man pleaded guilty Monday. 

Marcel Robertson, 39, was sentenced to a minimum of 5.7 years in prison, with a maximum of 11.75 years, by Judge Kent Harrell in Wilmington’s 6th District. Upon release, he will be supervised for 60 days and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. 

Second-degree rape and kidnapping are both Class C felonies in North Carolina, which carry a maximum punishment of 231 months (19 years). According to a district attorney’s office spokesperson, the sentence was determined based on presumptive calculation—general guidelines without judgements based on aggravated or mitigating factors. Presumptive punishments are determined by the type of felony and the defendant’s prior offenses. 

“Robertson is a prime example of predatory behavior,” Assistant District Attorney Connie Jordan said in a press release. “He targeted this victim as soon as he saw her vulnerable condition.”

According to the release, the Wilmington Police Department started investigating the case after the 2019 incident but didn’t make a breakthrough until they found a similar case from Cumberland County in 2014. After analyzing the untested Cumberland rape kit along with the Wilmington woman’s kit, DNA was found in both cases. 

On the night of Oct. 5, the Wilmington woman was drugged while celebrating downtown with friends. She woke the next morning in a vacant building under construction on North Front Street, confused about what occurred, the release explained. 

The WPD investigation revealed Robertson carried the incapacitated girl into the building after sitting on the curb at Princess Street and then raped her. Robertson worked for the property’s renovator, who gave him a set of keys to the building. 

Witnesses who observed Robertson carrying the woman assumed the two knew each other, according to the release. Robertson told bystanders that asked about her well-being that he was taking care of her. 

In the Cumberland County case, a young woman reported Roberston raped her after a party with friends. Fayetteville surveillance video showed Robertson carrying the apparently unconscious woman into the residence where she was assaulted. No charges were filed in that investigation.

Jury selection for Robertson’s trial was scheduled for Monday, but the case was closed over Robertson’s confession. 

Reach journalist Brenna Flanagan at 

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