Sunday, September 03, 2006

Magazine Salesman Sentenced In Rape Of 74-year-old

By Scott Herhold - Mercury News

Prosecutors said Friday that a magazine salesman who pleaded guilty to raping a 74-year-old woman near Prospect High School in San Jose would face a minimum of 27 years in prison.

The solicitor, Larry Gene Jackson, 42, pleaded guilty Thursday to rape, forcible oral copulation and threatening a witness as his jury trial was to begin.

``I think he basically saw the writing on the wall,'' said Deputy DA Tim McInerny. ``There was never any question that he did it.''

The crime received wide attention, in part because it was one of a series of assaults involving traveling sales crews. Police have urged residents, particularly retirees, not to open their doors to the crews.

In the San Jose case, which occurred in December, authorities said Jackson knocked on the woman's door, flashed identification and asked whether he could come inside for a glass of water.

Once inside the house, he dragged the elderly woman to a back bedroom, where he raped her. ``It was a terrible case,'' McInerny said.

The San Jose rape occurred less than three weeks after the rape and smothering of a 90-year-old woman in Lafayette; a 32-year-old magazine salesman from Missouri was charged in that case. And in August, 2005, a magazine salesman from Georgia was sentenced to 11 years in prison for severely beating a Menlo Park woman.

Several Bay Area communities have enacted ordinances that require the sellers to have permits. But critics of the sales crews say they are trained to get inside a house to make a sale, a practice that puts homeowners at risk.

Jackson is expected to be sentenced in mid-November by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Linda Condron.

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