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Sunday, March 03, 2024

BREAKING NEWS: Man linked with two campus-area sexual assaults found guilty today

A judge found Antonio Pope - the man accused of two attacks on UW-Madison students near campus last semester - guilty of two felony counts of first degree sexual assault and kidnapping Friday, after Pope pled no contest to the charges. 


Dane County Circuit Court Judge John Markson accepted the plea of no contest from Pope and tentatively set the sentencing hearing for mid-January. 


Pope, who will be 32 on Monday, has a long list of run-ins with police. In 2005, he was found guilty - for the second time - of one felony count of cocaine possession. Due to that conviction, he is labeled as a repeat offender, meaning for every charge an extra six years was added to the total jail time.  


In all, Pope faces a maximum of 224 years in prison and fines of $200,000.  


The plea agreement came as bit of a surprise - Pope had been expected to begin a jury trial in late November.  


The trial had the potential to end on Nov. 29 - exactly one year after the first attack. The criminal complaint says Pope abducted a UW-Madison student Nov. 29, 2006 on Observatory Drive around 8 p.m. and took his victim to a building nearby where he raped her. 


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Pope's second attack happened Dec. 9, less than two weeks later. He abducted a UW-Madison student on Carroll Street, took her to an off-campus location and raped her.  


These two actions prompted a citywide manhunt and put students on edge during finals week. Still, local police agencies worked together to find and arrest Pope on December 18.  


Madison police spokesperson Joel DeSpain directed his praise to the hard work of the Wisconsin state Crime Lab, who quickly analyzed DNA from the crimes, leading police to believe Pope was the culprit.  


DeSpain said without them, we didn't have this guy,"" adding police would have likely located him, but not as quickly which could have meant a possibility for more attacks in the area. 


District Attorney Karie Cattanach and Pope's attorney John Fiske also reached a deal to drop the two armed robbery charges. 

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