Horrific Crime, Tough Victim

     This is going to be a tough story to report, and an even tougher one to read, but the victim wants it told, and thinks it’s important.  If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this one.

     It’s about Fort Lauderdalian Kathy Young, a victim of a crime so vicious, so terrible, that it might haunt you. 

     Kathy’s torture happened in 1993, but this week’s arrest of homeless child – murderer Gary
Kerpan got Kathy reengaged in her anti-crime activism that she started after that horrific night.

                                                              
                                                             child murderer Kerpan

     When Kathy read about the Fort Lauderdale City Commission’s plans to move the homeless feeding out of Stranahan Park and into the Downtown fringe, she decided to tell the City not to make the same mistakes that contributed to her vicious attack in 1993.

                                                         
                                                                   Kathy before the attack
 
      It was in the early 1990’s, and Kathy lived in a modest bungalow a few blocks from the infamous Tent City. 

     Tent City was one of Fort Lauderdale’s most failed experiments. The problem of large populations of homeless filling the Downtown were escalating every winter, and the citizens wanted action. The City decided an open air, tented parking lot across from City Hall was the solution. It was a wild place, few rules, little control. People were found dead under the tent, crime reports were an everyday occurence, and it was far too scary for many of the homeless to stay there.

     Bad as Tent City was, it was just the ticket for Rodney Wayne Jones. It was July 1993, and Jones had just been released from a Washington State Prison, where he had served 7 years of a 13 year sentence for abducting and raping a nurse from a city bus stop. He hopped another bus bound for Tent City, Fort Lauderdale, a place that had gained national notoriety among the country’s chronically homeless population. . He settled in, no questions asked.
 
     A few weeks into his stay in Fort Lauderdale, Jones found an odd job repairing the rentals where Kathy lived. 

     Kathy says Jones was a ” deaf and dumb crackhead” who creeped her out from the moment he began working around her little cottage. ” He was looking in my window, and I told the landlord about it and made plans to move, but it wasn’t soon enough”.

     Kathy says on that fateful night, “she heard her front deadbolt turn”, and knew she was in trouble. Jones had a key he had gotten from the landlord. He attacked her with such viciousness, that she says the crime scene photos clearly showed “human tissue on the wall”. The crime was defined as “sexual torture”, because she wasn’t raped. Kathy says his crack addiction kept him from performing, and that frustration led to a more vicious attack. 

     Seventeen years later, Kathy is able to describe the shocking crime without emotion. She says he “stabbed me in the vagina 14 times”, which also ruptured her intestines. He “smashed my face with the butt of a rifle he brought along with the knife”. He then sodomized her with the barrel of the rifle as Kathy screamed and fought with all she had. Her neighbor, unable to get in to help, smashed the window with his fist, and that helped scare the attacker off.

     Kathy says the original call to 911 classified it as a homicide, no one thought she could survive.

                                                       
                                                              an hour after the attack


     Kathy says the aftermath was nearly as bad as the crime. Much of the evidence was thrown out due to a lack of warrants, and Jones’s original confession was thrown out, as his Miranda rights were violated due to his deafness. 

     Eventually, Jones accepted a plea agreement that offered him a 23 year sentence. Though he qualified for release March 1 2008 (Kathy says that date is burned into her memory), the Jimmy Ryce Act has him still civilly committed.

     Kathy seems OK now. She embroiled herself in anti-crime activities when she had recovered enough, trying to make some sense of the brutality she endured. She joined the City’s Volunteer Police Academy, the Homeless Task Force, the Broward Sheriff’s Victim Advocate Program, and the Citizens Crime Alert, and bought her first home in a new area she says ” doesn’t have any crackheads”. 

     Kathy says she hasn’t been active lately, but that she decided to  “step back into the ring” to try and contribute to the City’s plans for the homeless feeding programs. If it has to be done, she says she “wants it done right this time”.

     Expect to hear more from Kathy. She can be reached at 954-689-7571.