Man who raped SFA student gets 90 years

Nicole Lostracco, Nacogdoches Co. District Attorney
Nicole Lostracco, Nacogdoches Co. District Attorney
Sledge's cousin
Sledge's cousin
Steven Sledge mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.
Steven Sledge mug shot courtesy of Nacogdoches County Jail.

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A district judge Thursday morning sentenced a Nacogdoches man to 90 years in prison for abducting and raping an SFA student in Dec. 2009.

Judge Campbell Cox issued two concurrent 90-year sentences to Steven Gerard Sledge, 43, for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, following a sentencing hearing Thursday morning.

The hearing came exactly one month after a jury's guilty verdict on both charges.

The victim's mother and husband tearfully provided testimony concerning the after-effects of the crimes committed to the victim before the sentence was announced.

"It is a horrible, terrible thing... no one ever should do something like this to everyone, but she's strong," said the victim's mother.

"I guess you could say I'm paranoid now.  I won't let her go anywhere by herself," said the victim's husband.

Sledge did not to take the stand in his own defense during his trial, but he did decide to speak out at his sentencing.

He told the judge, who ultimately decided his fate, "I'm not the monster the media portrayed me to be."

Sledge asked for mercy so that he could be apart of his younger children's lives.  However, remained steadfast in his innocence, "I consider myself a godly person, and I ask for forgiveness... but I am not guilty of these offenses."

The judge was not swayed by his testimony.

"He will not even be eligible to talk about parole for 30 years which will put him at 73," said Nicole Lostracco, Nacogdoches County District Attorney.

Lostracco hopes that any parole board would look at Sledge's crimes, and keep him behind bars for the public's safety.

"He did not take responsibility for what he did, and I think he would be capable of doing it again," said Lostracco.

There were some new faces at the courthouse for Sledge's sentencing.  His extended family was there. They say they weren't able to come to make his trial because they didn't know about it until that last minute.

Joseph Mitchell, Sledge's third cousin, was called to testify on his behalf during the sentencing hearing.  When the defense attorney asked him whether it was normal for Sledge to be out on the S.F.A. campus during the early morning hours.

"Just being out in the streets - that would be out of his character," said Mitchell.

Mitchell and Sledge's other cousin, Nancy Simon, said they think Sledge's sentence is excessive and ridiculous.

"When you don't have a bunch of people in your corner, or a bunch of money, then you just get what you get," said Simon.

They say they don't know what really happened, but they do know he's a good man.

"The man I know is a family man that'll work hard for his family. He would do anything to make his family safe," said Mitchell.

"Joy to be around. We don't know this person - this monster - that they're talking about. I don't know that person," said Simon.

Lostracco says Sledge got what he deserved. She added that the young lady who Sledge kidnapped, then raped repeatedly, can finally move on.

"She said today that she made eye contact with him and she kept looking at him because she wanted him to know that this was serious and he was getting what he deserved and basically, she was the one walking out of there, not him," said Lostracco.

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