Rapist pleads guilty in middle of trial

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Zachary Townsend

Zachary Townsend

PLATTE CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man pleaded guilty in the middle of his trial for a 2006 rape of a stranger at a Northland apartment complex.

Zachary L. Townsend, 43, admitted on the second day of his trial, June 25, that he forcibly raped and sodomized the woman after entering her unlocked apartment late at night.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “This defendant committed one of the most terrifying crimes imaginable for any woman.  His victim, a single, 27-year-old woman awoke in the middle of the night to see a stranger standing at the foot of her bed. That man then repeatedly raped, sodomized, and physically assaulted her.”

The victim testified at trial that on Dec. 21, 2006, she awoke sometime after 11 p.m. to a man standing in the bedroom of her apartment at The Crossings apartment complex, 7867 NW Roanridge Rd., in Kansas City.

That man, later identified as Townsend, forced her to her car, where he raped her.  He later forced her to return to her apartment, where he repeatedly raped and sodomized her over a period of several hours.

At one point during the assaults, the victim screamed and Townsend grabbed the her by the neck, choked her, and threatened to kill her.

Townsend fled the next morning. The victim immediately went to a hospital, where medical personnel completed a sexual assault examination.  She had numerous bruises and injuries.

compositeThe case generated substantial attention at the time, including the posting of a composite sketch of the suspect on a billboard along I-29.  That billboard, funded by Crime Stoppers and Lamar Advertising, was the first billboard of an unknown suspect posted in the Kansas City area.

A cold-case DNA match ultimately revealed Townsend as her attacker. Zahnd said the DNA match was one in 20 quadrillion.

Townsend, who represented himself during the trial, faces up to life in prison for the crimes of forcible rape and forcible sodomy.

He is scheduled to be sentenced July 29.

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