Devereux Rapist’s Sentencing Delayed

by Ethan Stewart

With a packed, emotionally charged courtroom looking on, what
was meant to be the final chapter in the Darren Boyer Thomas rape
trial took an unexpected turn this week when the sentencing hearing
was put on hold midway through the proceedings. Armed with
jailhouse research conducted by Thomas — a former Devereux
supervisor — defending attorney Steve Baylash made a successful
last-minute motion to continue the matter in order to explore the
possibility of a retrial. Despite the postponement of the
sentencing, Judge Brian Hill allowed a majority of the hearing to
proceed, including sentencing arguments from prosecutor Joyce
Dudley and half a dozen heartfelt impact statements from the
victims’ friends and family.

The Tuesday morning hearing got off to an ominous start when the
victim — a 30-year-old severely mentally disabled former resident
of the Devereux School — became enraged and had to be escorted out
of the room by her caregiver shortly after a shackled Thomas was
brought into the courtroom. Baylash then asserted that he needed
more time to look into a perceived discrepancy in the testimony of
a key prosecution witness, Dr. Frank Alvarez. Given that the victim
tested positive for syphilis while Thomas tests negative, Alvarez’s
argument hinged on the time and type of STD test the victim
received. According to his testimony, she tested positive for a
non-contagious form of the disease, but Thomas’s research of court
documents suggests that a second test was administered at some
point by a different doctor in which the victim proved to be

Baylash explained, “I want to know whether she was contagious at
the time of the abortion [approximately three months after the
alleged rape]. If she were, I think the jury should have known
that.” As a result, Baylash asked for the two-week continuance so
he could review the trial transcripts, though he admitted after the
hearing, “There really may be nothing to it.” For her part, Dudley
considers the syphilis confusion little more than a “red herring,”
and was quick to point out that DNA evidence directly linked Thomas
to the aborted child and the jury needed little more than two hours
to convict Thomas last month.

Continuances aside, the impact statements made at the
hearing — which included testimony from the victim’s mother,
brother, cousin, and caregiver — all urged the court to punish
Thomas to the fullest extent of the law. As the victim’s brother
put it, “He deserves more time in jail than he can get. … He abused
his position of power and sexually preyed upon someone with the
mental capacity of a 2- to 3-year-old.” Dudley echoed the family’s
feelings, saying, “The defendant raped a helpless, voiceless
victim. He clearly is a danger to society. He stops at

Thomas will return to court on July 26. He faces a maximum of
eight years in a state prison. Additionally, Thomas is scheduled
for a pretrial hearing at the end of this month, in which he will
face perjury charges for his testimony during the rape trial.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.