Judge upholds life sentence for serial rapist convicted as a teen

Robert Roberson

WJAX

RIVERSIDE, Fla. - A serial rapist will not get out of jail after a Duval County, Florida judge upheld seven life sentences for Robert Roberson, reports CBS affiliate WJAX.

Robertson’s sentence was being reviewed because he was under 18 when he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for raping several women in Riverside in 1985. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 2010 case Graham v. Florida that a juvenile cannot be sentenced to life without parole for any crime other than homicide.

On Thursday, Judge Angela Cox said that the court found that nothing other than a life sentence would protect the community from Roberson. However, he will be eligible to have his sentenced reviewed again in 10 years.

WJXT reports that Roberson, now 46, was 15 years old at the time of the crimes, but the judge said his actions in 1985 revealed something much more sinister than simple immaturity.

“You created an environment where they had fear of death in addition to the act of sex. You threatened by words, you threatened death with a firearm, you threatened death by choking and hitting and biting,” Cox said. “You raped a woman who was breastfeeding her baby and required her baby to be on the bed while she was being violated.” 

During Roberson’s two-week crime spree, he attacked women in three homes within eight blocks of each other in Riverside.

Roberson was found guilty of burglary with an assault, sexual battery and unarmed robbery when a court determined he broke into three Riverside homes and sexually assaulted three different women he did not know.

But despite Roberson’s defense asking that the court consider his horrific upbringing, witnessing violence and being a victim of violence, Roberson will still face multiple life sentences.

Cox said Roberson will be able to review his sentence in 10 years and Roberson has 30 days to appeal his new sentence.