A 50-year-old Baker man accused of kidnapping two females in Baton Rouge and raping them 12 years apart reluctantly pleaded guilty to both sex crimes Monday in exchange for a 40-year prison term.
Michael A. Rushing, who was scheduled to stand trial Monday, faced a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted of aggravated rape in the 2012 incident involving a 22-year-old woman. He was charged with forcible rape in the 2000 assault of a 14-year-old girl.
Rushing pleaded guilty to two counts of forcible rape in return for concurrent 40-year terms, although he said he was hoping for a more lenient sentence. The 40 years must be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
State District Judge Mike Erwin will sentence him Tuesday.
“So there’s no chance for parole?” Rushing asked Erwin. “No sir,” the judge replied. “So it’s straight 40 years?” Rushing inquired further. “Yes sir,” Erwin said again.
DNA evidence linked Rushing to both rapes, prosecutor Sue Bernie said.
In the July 28, 2012, incident, Rushing kidnapped the woman at gunpoint from the Bone and Joint Clinic parking area on Hennessy Boulevard near Essen Lane after following her there from a Denham Springs gas station. He drove her in a red pickup to a wooded area near the Mississippi River in Iberville Parish and raped her. He then left the woman at a fast-food restaurant on Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge.
During the encounter, which lasted several hours, Rushing told the woman some details about his personal life, including the name of his wife and son, Bernie said Monday inside Erwin’s courtroom. At one point, Rushing — who gave the woman a fake name — fired his gun toward the river to scare off anyone who may have been nearby, she added.
In the incident 12 years earlier, Rushing picked up the girl June 16, 2000, while she was walking in her neighborhood at 10 p.m. Rushing forced the girl into a truck and blindfolded her, then took her to a residence where he raped her. He then dropped the girl off back in her neighborhood, Bernie said.
Prosecutors dropped a second-degree kidnapping charge in each incident.