A Frederick man convicted of first-degree rape almost a year ago was sentenced to serve 40 years behind bars at a sentencing hearing Thursday in Frederick County Circuit Court.
Travis James Eddins, 39, was convicted of rape, as well first- and second-degree assault, at the end of a four-day trial on Aug. 2, 2018. A sentencing hearing, initially set for October, was later postponed when Judge Scott L. Rolle, an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, was deployed to Afghanistan to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, according to Will Cockey, a spokesman for the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Judge Rolle was called up for military duty in October,” Cockey wrote in an email. “... The [defense] was given an option to have Eddins sentenced by another judge, or wait for Rolle to return. They opted to wait for Rolle to return.”
Eddins was arrested Dec. 8, 2017, after a woman came to Frederick Memorial Hospital to complete a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence kit and speak with city police detectives. The woman, an acquaintance of Eddins’, identified him as her assailant, and police arrested him the next day. Eddins maintained his innocence in his court appearances, and pleaded not guilty to all three counts leading up to trial.
At trial, prosecutors told the jury that the rape took place in a tent Eddins was living in along Highland Street. The woman and her boyfriend had slept in the tent with Eddins the night before, but Eddins and the woman were alone after the boyfriend left for work. The woman said Eddins choked her until she blacked out, then raped her.
Neither of Eddins’ defense attorneys, Matthew Frawley nor Catherine Keller, was available for comment Thursday.
Rolle handed Eddins a life sentence Thursday, but suspended all but 40 years, a sentence that was welcomed by prosecutors.
“The state’s attorney’s office is satisfied that Judge Rolle sentenced the defendant to the maximum allowed under the sentencing guidelines,” Cockey wrote of the judge’s decision. “This victim was nearly strangled to death and raped. It is critical to public safety that this defendant remains behind bars for a long time.”