Convicted rapist to be freed

Published 12:55 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

By Staff
Plans to return to Beaufort County
A former Aurora resident and convicted rapist, Raydell Grimes, will be released from prison Jan. 18 and plans to return to Beaufort County.
Grimes was 28 when a jury found him guilty on Oct. 13, 1982 of raping Penelope Mitchell after breaking into her home on West Main Street in Aurora, according to court documents.
Grimes had previous convictions of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny, according to the N.C. Department of Correction. He broke into Mitchell’s house just after midnight on May 15, 1982 and, according to her testimony, raped her.
Mitchell recognized Grimes as someone “she had seen on the streets of Aurora,” according to court documents. She also knew his name was “Ravon” or “Raydell” Grimes.
She reported the rape on May 19, 1982 to officer Euel Atkinson with the Aurora Police Department and was able to identify Grimes from a group of photos. Grimes was arrested and put in jail. His bond was set at $50,000, according the to report. Grimes had served 147 days in jail when the jury found him guilty and Judge James Hardison sentenced him to life in prison.
Administrative Officer Mary Harrop with the N.C. Parole Commission office in Raleigh said, “He was given a life sentence, so by law he had to serve 20 years.” She said Grimes “earned credit for good behavior” and was eligible for parole in 1992, but was not released.
Grimes was reviewed again “within a year or less,” Harrop said because “the commission reviews cases at least once a year.”
Harrop wouldn’t comment on why Grimes was denied parole every year until 2007.
Members of the commission don’t actually meet with the offender under review, according to the N.C. Department of Correction Web site. Parole decisions are based on information in the offenders’ case files.
Because the crime was committed before 1994, Grimes was a part of the “prestructured sentencing,” Harrop said.
Structured sentencing — the state’s current sentencing law — eliminates the need for parole for crimes committed on or after Oct. 1, 1994, according to a press release.
However, officials said it would be hard to determine whether Grimes would have served more or less time if structured sentencing had been available in 1982, according to the Parole Commission office.
Grimes is currently being held at the Carteret Correctional Center, a minimum-security level prison in Newport. He has had 12 infractions since he was taken into custody in 1982. His last infraction was committed on March 4, but the details could not be released, said a spokesman with the center.
Grimes will have to register as a sex offender upon his release, said a spokesman with the N.C. Parole Commission office. Harrop said Grimes plans to live in Beaufort County, but wouldn’t release the exact address. At the time of his conviction, his address was Route 2 Box 76 in Aurora, as listed in court reports.
Grimes will also have to report to a parole officer in Beaufort County. “He could be on supervision for up to five years, but no more than five years,” Harrop said.