Teen gets life for attacking jogger at UF's stadium

Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

One of two Gainesville teenagers, charged as adults for attacking a University of Florida student as she was jogging at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium last year was sentenced to life in prison this week, prosecutors reported.

LaJeffric A. Owens, 16, received the maximum sentence allowed under state law, said Assistant State Attorney Tim Browning. Owens was sentenced Monday by County Judge Mary Day Coker after a jury found him guilty in November on charges of sexual battery, kidnapping and attempted robbery.

Charges are still pending against another teenager charged in the case, Marvin E. Sheffield, 16, of Gainesville, Browning said. Owens and Sheffield were 15 at the time of the attack.

A woman, jogging at the stadium, was exercising inside the stadium at about 9 p.m. on Jan. 6 when she was grabbed from behind, UF Police reported last year. The woman was choked and had yellow paint sprayed in her face as she was pulled into a bathroom and raped.

The woman's attackers asked for money but she told them she didn't have any, Browning said.

The victim eventually escaped from her attackers and ran screaming for help. Employees found her and helped contact officers.

Browning said investigators found clothing that, with DNA testing, showed a link between Owens and the attack.

Owens will be designated a sexual predator and will be ordered to provide a DNA sample that will be kept on file by the state of Florida, Browning said.

A trial date for Sheffield is still pending. Browning said the court is considering competency issues in his case.

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