Brookings rapist sentenced to 80 years in prison

Ruth Brown

Ruth BrownOpinion Editor

Christopher L. Jones, the man responsible for three violent sexual assaults, was sentenced on Nov. 9 to 80 concurrent years in state penitentiary for three second-degree rapes and one kidnapping that occurred in Brookings last spring.

The 202 days Jones served in the Brookings County Jail will count toward his sentence. He will be eligible for parole in approximately 51 years.

“He is a narcissistic, violent animal who has no remorse for what he has done,” said Clyde Calhoon, Brookings County states attorney, at the sentencing. “A violent animal like that needs to be put in a cage; the defendant needs to be put in a cage.”

Jones’ attorney Rick Ribstein said he disagreed with Calhoon’s statement, and that Jones was not the “animal” Calhoon portrayed him to be.

“[Jones] is remorseful and feels bad about what he has done … he asks these young women for their forgiveness,” Ribstein said.

Jones later stood and apologized to the courtroom.

“In the past several months, I have had a lot of time to sit and think about my decisions… I would like to apologize for showing a lack of respect to [the victims], and invading their personal space both physically and emotionally,” Jones said in his apology. “… I have younger sisters, and I am ashamed and embarrassed of what I did.”

In Jones’ final statement he said he “sincerely apologized,” and he knew “words don’t heal all wounds” but he hopes that one day they could forgive him.

The first victim will receive $872.41 in restitution, the second will receive $829.19, and the third will receive $1,043.60. He will also pay $104 in court fees for each count.

According to Ribstein, Jones wrote letters of apology to each of the three women he attacked.

Ribstein also made other arguments in the defense’s favor.

“[Jones] did cooperate from the beginning, and I think the court should take that into consideration,” Ribstein said. “He is a bright, young individual and has caused no problems since his arrest and has had no prior convictions.”

Jones was ordered to undergo a psychosexual evaluation and was not found to have any redeeming qualities or characteristics, according to Calhoon.

The evaluation found Jones to be in the 95th percentile of being at the risk of re-offending and in the 81st percentile in regards to having violent characteristics. He is also a borderline schizophrenic and a psychopath, Calhoon said.

“Put that together with a man that is the 95th percentile of committing a crime again and you have an individual that is very, very dangerous,” Calhoon said in court. “In my 36 years as a prosecutor … I can’t remember any investigation that left me as cold as this one did. I don’t believe the defendant has any compassion or remorse whatsoever … .”

The crimes Jones committed were spread out over three weeks last spring. The first two occurred on campus near Hilton M. Briggs Library and in the residence hall parking lot near Young and Caldwell residence halls on March 29 and April 7, respectively. The third and final incident, which involved the kidnapping, happened off campus early morning April 20. Jones was arrested later that same day. During all three assaults, Jones was armed with a knife and demanded money from the women.

“What he did to these three young ladies will affect them for the rest of their lives,” Calhoon said as he asked the court to take that into consideration when sentencing.

“This man put the community of Brookings in fear and continued to do so until he was apprehended,” Calhoon said. “The continuum of crimes became more and more violent on the ladies assaulted, and this defendant did not stop. We stopped it.”

Jones pleaded guilty to the rapes and kidnapping on Sept. 30. In exchange for Jones’ four guilty pleas, the two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted robbery, as well as the additional rape charges that were originally brought against him were dismissed.

Jones has no connection to the university and had recently moved from Omaha, Neb., to Brookings at the time of his arrest, living with his girlfriend.