News 12 at 6 o'clock/ August 25, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The man accused of rape on the Paine College campus has rejected a plea deal.
The state offered Jarius Dantzler a plea deal of two consecutive life sentences for a string of charges tied to three separate incidents, one involving a rape in a Paine College dorm.
Now that Dantzler rejected the deal, he'll be tried separately for each of three incidents. The first trial got underway Monday, and focused on an armed robbery and burglary case that happened off campus back in February of 2013.
Dantzler first became a suspect in a rape on the Paine College campus, but strange similarities led investigators to question him about this case too.
A mother of three says she was home alone when an intruder sliced a window screen, broke into her home, and crawled into bed with her and her five year old back in February 2012.
On the stand, the victim said, "I felt that there was somebody else other than my daughter in the bed with us....At that point, he had his arm around my neck. He told me not to move or he'd kill me."
She says he began to choke her and hit her in the face with a knife.
"I was terrified, I was scared, and I was just trying to make sure my daughter was safe," she said.
She was eventually able to break away and grab her five year old daughter. That's when she says the stranger demanded money.
"I told him, I have nothing to give you. I don't know what you want from me. He looked down at my private area and said, 'Well, you going to have to give me something,'" she tearfully recalled.
She says, she told the man her purse was on her kitchen counter. He allegedly grabbed the purse and ran out through the back door. She says he was wearing a dark hoodie and a pair of white Air Force One tennis shoes.
The victim says the crime completely changed her life, "We can't be in places by ourselves. We're always on the defense about everything."
Investigators say Jarius Dantzler was living right next door to the victim. Deputies found her purse spilled out in his backyard.
Dantzler faces armed robbery, burglary, weapons, and child cruelty charges for this case alone. If he's found guilty, he could get a life sentence with up to 35 years tacked on.