Victim Speaks Out after Trucker Convicted of Rape
After being forced to relive the most traumatic moment of her life, Doris Velazquez left the Erie County Courthouse with a sense of justice
"I'm just happy that at least I got my justice for what happened,” said Velazquez. “I don't hold a grudge against him. I forgive him, but I can't forget."
After three days of testimony and five hours of deliberations, a jury of eight men and four women found 58-year-old Jerome Keyes guilty of raping her in his semi-truck, last October.
"I just wanted to let him know, that even though he did what he did, it is what it is,” said Velazquez. “I thank God that they found him guilty of the rape charge."
During Keyes’ trial, Velazquez testified that Keyes kidnapped her near the Shell gas station on East 6th and Parade Streets, then took her to a parking lot off of West 12th and Chestnut Streets, where he repeatedly raped and beat her.
With the trial now over, Velazquez wanted to come forward and share her thoughts on Keyes' conviction.
"Now that I know he's not going to be out and he's not going to bring damage to me anymore, I can be able to live my life and go back to my normal stability I had before." said Velazquez.
During the attack, Velazquez was able to escape and ran naked to a nearby apartment where a woman let her inside.
Velazquez says the woman saved her life.
“I appreciate whoever helped me out,” said Velazquez. “I want to (thank) the lady that took me in when I was in this situation. I want to thank her a lot. I appreciate that. For her, I'm still here."
Keyes also took the stand, where he denied the allegations against him.
Even though the jury found him guilty of rape and simple assault, they found Keyes not guilty of kidnapping and nine other charges.
Velazquez says the conviction will help her move on with her life.
"It's not going to be easy,” said Velazquez. “It's going to take a challenge for me to go back to the person I was after I was raped and kidnapped. It's like I say, you have to go through everything to learn about life. You hit rock bottom, and you get back up."
Keyes is scheduled to be sentenced on May 31.
Keyes is also charged in connection to another rape that occurred in 2015.