A jury on Monday convicted a 31-year-old man of raping a woman in her Mishawaka home and then leading police on a three-hour manhunt into South Bend.
The state called 20 witnesses to the stand during Leonard Marshall’s five-day trial, including the victim’s neighbors, family members, police officers, detectives and forensic experts.
Marshall could face 64 years or more in prison on the convictions.
Jurors began deliberating at 7 p.m. and delivered a verdict just before midnight.
The state’s witnesses and Deputy Prosecutor Christy Haws painted a story in which Marshall allegedly attacked the woman in her bedroom with a knife, dragged her to the basement and raped her.
The Tribune does not name victims of sex crimes.
The woman testified that on the morning of Oct. 8, she was in her bedroom, having just finished a midnight nursing shift. She had sent her four children to school and was planning to go to sleep at her home on Milburn Boulevard.
Minutes later, prosecutors said, Marshall entered the home through an unlocked door and attacked the woman with a knife.
She resisted, and he dragged her into the kitchen where she threw a cast-iron plate at him. He also choked her, and she testified that she almost blacked out twice.
He then forced her into the basement, made her undress, and had sex with her on the basement floor.
Marshall, who testified at the trial, said the sex was consensual.
He said they had met a few days earlier and had had sex before. He testified that the woman had been expecting him to come over that morning once her children had gone to school.
Marshall is from Chicago but was visiting South Bend and staying with a friend when he met the woman, he said.
He said the woman struck him with the iron plate because he told her he would be leaving South Bend and going to Chicago.
After the incident, the woman ran to a neighbor’s house, yelling that she had just been raped at knife-point and the man might still be in her house, according to the state and various witnesses who testified.
Marshall, meanwhile, fled the scene and proceeded to lead police on a three-hour manhunt through Mishawaka and into the southeast side of South Bend.
He was eventually found hiding outside a house more than 2½ miles from the rape scene, in the 1800 block of Southernview Drive.
He allegedly first told police his name was Michael Johnson.
Marshall had gone to the woman’s house two other times before the rape - first, when he encountered her in the driveway while she was unloading items from her car, and second, a few hours before the rape, when he allegedly attempted to rob her son at knife-point while the woman was at work.
But jurors found him not guilty of the attempted robbery.
The son told his mother what happened when she came home, but the woman did not call police because she was not certain he was telling the truth, according to her testimony.
Defense attorney Charles Lahey raised questions about the state’s version of the events.
He said there were no signs of forced entry in the house, and attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of the woman’s 14-year-old son who said Marshall tried to rob him.
Haws told the jury to consider “the totality of the evidence.”
Marshall was facing nine criminal counts: rape, attempted robbery, criminal confinement, two counts of intimidation, strangulation, residential entry, resisting law enforcement and false informing.
He was found guilty of all but attempted robbery and intimidation of the 14-year-old boy.
All counts are felonies except resisting and false informing.
Staff writer Mary Kate Malone: firstname.lastname@example.org 574-235-6337