"One man crime spree" gets four life sentences

Marcus Wade (Source: Columbus Police Dept.)
Marcus Wade (Source: Columbus Police Dept.)
Marcus Wade in court
Marcus Wade in court

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  He's been called a "monster" by Columbus investigators and now the man accused of abducting a little girl on her way to school and sexually assaulting her has been sentenced to life in prison.

Marcus Wade, 22, was scheduled to go to trial Monday but instead, decided to plead guilty Friday to 14 charges, including child molestation, aggravated child molestation, kidnapping, armed robbery and hijacking a motor vehicle in connection with a string of violent crimes in Columbus.

Chief Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Allen gave Wade four concurrent life sentences.

On the morning of January 6, 2010, one of Wade's friends called him and asked him to drive her son to school at Kendrick High School in East Columbus. He drove the woman's Gold Durango and dropped the high school student off.

He parked in the neighborhood and exposed himself to two middle school girls walking to school at East Columbus Magnet Academy. Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly says after that, Wade took off running towards Cameo Court where a 12-year-old had just left her house and started walking towards her school, which was also East Columbus Magnet Academy.

Wade pulled a gun on her, threatened to kill her and forced her into his car.

He started driving and that's when police say he ordered her to perform oral sex on him which she refused.

Four block away at Belvedere Park, he forced her into the girl's bathroom. He held a gun to her head, forced her to take off all of her clothes and tried to rape her twice. Kelly says Wade was "unable" to have sex with the child and made her perform oral sex on him. Then, he told the young victim he was going to have to kill her but she promised she wouldn't tell anyone if he let her go and he ended up letting her get dressed. He dropped her off at an apartment complex across from her school. She immediately reported the attack to school officials and police.

Investigators say they found some of the same clothes the victim said Wade was wearing at the time of the attack in his home.

Later that day, Wade also robbed a man at gunpoint in Wade's own neighborhood off of Saint Mary's Road. The victim was posting fliers on doors for his company.

The next day, on January 7th, Wade exposed himself to a woman walking back to her house after helping her child get on the school bus. The woman ran and Wade chased her but when she got to her house, he ran away.

Right after that, Wade went to the nearby Family Dollar on Farr Road and kidnapped a grandmother who had her 3-year-old grandson in the car. At gunpoint, he made the woman drive to an ATM in the Holly Hills Shopping Center and told her he needed money. When another car pulled up, the woman started screaming and Wade drove off with the child in the backseat. He abandoned the car and child in his neighborhood and ran into his girlfriend's mother's house to hide. Kelly says a woman who had seen the incident at the ATM followed Wade and called police. He was finally arrested and investigators were able to trace his steps and link him to all of the crimes.

Columbus investigators say he exposed himself to other women before January and masturbated in front of them. One woman was approached in her carport on Sims Street, where Wade lives and another was walking to her pastor's house on Corbin Drive when she was pushed to the ground, according to police. Those alleged incidents were not listed in his indictment.

Detectives believe Wade started committing crimes right after he was released from prison in August of 2009. He served two years for robbery and possession of cocaine.

Wade was identified by all of his victims in photographic line-ups. The middle school girl he sexually assaulted identified him in a live line-up.

Wade never made any statements to police about his actions but his attorney, Michael Garner, says Wade did express remorse about what he did.

"He said he didn't know what had come over him. He got depressed and just didn't care about living anymore. Apparently, it was in this state that he committed this sudden serious series of crime, just a spontaneous one man crime spree. He really doesn't understand why he did it."

Assistant District Attorney Don Kelly called Wade's behavior "bizarre" says he wanted to close the case without having to make the children involved take the stand and relive what happened to them.

"I felt that this was one of the worst crimes I have ever seen in my life- to kidnap a 12-year-old girl and sexually assault her. I was determined from the beginning that I was going to get the maximum sentence as a method of, one, protecting the public and two, punishing him for what he did in this case," Kelly told the media outside of court.

Judge John Allen wanted Wade classified as a sex predator, the highest level of classification that sex offenders can have in the state of Georgia. In order to do that, Wade had to have some level of probation so the judge sentenced him to 30 years of probation after his concurrent life sentences. Prosecutors, however, do not expect him to ever be a free man again.

"We wanted to make sure hopefully that he will be in prison for the rest of his life. That's what he's been sentenced to and we will try to make sure of that. We will make sure that he never has a chance to do this again," Kelly added.

Marcus Wade won't be eligible for parole for 30 years.

The mother of the child Wade kidnapped and sexually assaulted was in court and watched as he admitted to the crime but when asked by the judge if she had anything to say she said no.

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