The man accused of terrorizing DeKalb County in 2011 will spend the rest of his life in jail.
A jury on Friday convicted Gary Wendale Mincey of all 17 charges against him for raping or trying to rape five women over a six-week period in the fall of that year.
Mincey, 36, kept the same smirk he wore through the entire four-day trial as the jury foreman read each guilty verdict.
“We are very, very pleased with the jury verdict,” DeKalb County Chief Assistant District Attorney Nicole Marchand Golden told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re just happy we could rid DeKalb County of this predator who stalked, robbed and raped his victims … for seemingly no rhyme or reason.”
Sentencing will be held at a later, undisclosed date, but Mincey faces eight consecutive life prison terms plus 135 additional years behind bars – or 375 years – if he is given the maximum sentence.
Before the jury began to deliberate the bevy of charges against Mincey, Golden described him using harsh terms.
“Monster,” she said. “The Boogie Man. A woman’s worst nightmare.”
Mincey’s attorney, however, insisted that he was not the man who followed women home and attacked them.
“The State says that this man was a serial rapist,” public defender Letitia Delan told the jury. “There’s very little evidence in this case that links Mr. Mincey to this case.”
Prosecutors said that between Oct. 16 and Nov. 29, Mincey stalked five women, lying in wait at places where they shopped or socialized before trailing them and confronting them as they tried to enter their homes.
Mincey allegedly picked his victims – seemingly at random – from the Publix supermarket on Flakes Mill Road, from Echelon Bar and Bistro in Stone Mountain, and from Tanqueray Lounge in Decatur.
And the armed man each woman encountered threatened to kill them before robbing them of jewelry, cell phones and money, and ultimately forcing himself on them, prosecutors said.
Two women were able to fend off rape, either through dogged determination or the luck of a timely encounter that spooked their attacker, according to testimony. Three others were raped. Rape kit samples collected from two of those women helped to match DNA to Mincey when police eventually caught up to him. One woman had been forced to wash herself after the attack and no DNA was available, prosecutors said.
“What the defense cannot refute is how … Mr. Mincey’s DNA found its way into a 21-year-old and a 53-year-old,” Golden said.
Delan pointed to testimony from a GBI DNA specialist when she questioned the accuracy of the DNA findings, however.
“You heard the scientist tell you that 97 percent of all DNA is the same, and that only 3 percent can distinguish one person from another,” she said. “You’re dealing with a guess, not a certainty.”
Delan also told the jury that not everyone in the chain of collecting, packaging and cataloguing the DNA samples testified in the trial, and suggested that proper protocols to prevent contaminating the evidence might have been sidestepped.
“She can’t say that other people who touched the samples didn’t contaminate them,” Delan said of the GBI DNA expert.
But Golden countered that the expert wouldn’t have used the DNA if it appeared to be contaminated.
“Had there been evidence of contamination, she would have sent it back and … had them do another rape kit,” Golden said.
Another man was initially arrested amid the string of attacks, but was released within three days after an attack was reported while he was in police custody.
He was listed on Georgia’s sex offender website, lived near one of the victims and drove a vehicle similar to the SUV reportedly seen driving from each crime scene, prosecutors acknowledged.
While in jail, two victims picked him out of a line-up, Delan told the jury.
While four women only got passing glances in the dark at their assailant, the last victim encountered him inside her home and had ample chance to see his face.
“She saw him three times in the light … but she did not identify that man as her attacker,” she said pointing at the defendant’s table to Mincey while referencing the fifth victim.
Golden responded by displaying mugshots of the men side-by-side and pointing out similarities in their appearance.
“They look alike,” she said.
Mincey was tracked down using one of the victim’s phones, and when arrested, he was found to have other items – electronic equipment and jewelry – he allegedly took from the victims.
His mother found other items in his room while cleaning and reported them to police.
Delan suggested to the jury her client may have purchased those items.
“Those things that were taken were easily sold,” she said.
As Golden wrapped up her closing statement , she laid out before the jury box each piece of jewelry that Mincey was accused of stealing.
“These are souvenirs,” she said. “He kept these so that any time he wanted, he could pull them out to remind himself of his conquests.”
Delan reiterated for the jury that her client was innocent, warning jurors not to be misled by the prosecution.
“There are 19 counts and five victims,” she said. “He must’ve done something wrong. That’s what the state wants you to believe.”
Golden referred to Mincey’s alleged victims as “survivors” as she asked the jury to convict him.
“Honor these survivors and find Gary Mincey guilty,” she said.
Mincey was found guilty on 17 of the 19 counts. Two counts were removed.