Rape victim wins $20M verdict against apartments
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Harris County jury has awarded $20 million in damages to a woman who sued after she was raped in her apartment complex three years ago. She says her apartment complex should have warned residents that there was a predator on the loose.
Thursday was three years ago to the day that the victim was attacked in her west Houston apartment. Darryl Anthony Martin was waiting inside when she came home to the Promenade Cullen Park Apartments.
"It was terrifying," said the rape victim, who we're not identifying. "It was your worst nightmare come true if you're a woman."
The woman says Martin quickly grabbed her and began to cover her face.
"He put a piece of leather over my eyes, some kind of a black hood over my head and then started duct taping all the way around my entire head."
Over the next 11 hours, she says he drugged and repeatedly raped her. The next morning, he fled but was caught by police after she called 911.
Martin pled guilty to the sexual assault and is serving 20 years in prison. Only later did the woman discover that Martin had attempted to rape her next door neighbor two weeks prior.
Her attorney says the apartment complex sent out a note saying only that there had been a break-in there; nothing about a physical assault and nothing about an attempted rape.
"This was an apartment complex that didn't think they had any obligation to do that," said attorney Troy Chandler.
Had she known of the attempted rape next door, the victim says, says she might have been able to protect herself.
"They put the almighty dollar over the safety of their tenants," she said.
She says that because she re-signed her lease the very day the apartment complex issued the notice about the neighbor's break-in. The victim sued the apartment complex and its owner and after a week-long trial, the jury awarded her $7 million for physical pain and mental anguish, $5 million for future mental anguish and $8 million for conduct forbidden by the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act; $20 million in all.
"All I can do is hope," she said, "that this is a big enough hit in their pocket book, which is what they care about."
Attorneys for the corporation, PCM-Barker Cypress, which owns the apartment complex failed to return our repeated calls on Thursday so we could bring you their side of this story.
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