A Fredericksburg jury last week recommended that a city man serve a little over five years in prison for having sexual relations with a young woman after putting something in her drink.

Larry Ray Owens, 59, was convicted late Wednesday in Fredericksburg Circuit Court of aggravated sexual battery and a misdemeanor charge of possessing a Schedule IV drug, court records show.

The jury suggested that Owens serve a total of five years and 45 days in prison and pay fines totaling $41,000. Owens will be formally sentenced by Judge Gordon Willis on Nov. 20.

According to Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins, the victim in Wednesday’s trial is in her early 20s. She testified that she met Owens through a friend and had gone to his house on Wolfe Street at least twice prior to the attack.

She recalled seeing several young women in the home drinking and partying. The young women ranged from high school age to about 20, she said.

The victim said Owens kept in touch with her via text and social media while she was away at college. At some point, he told her he would be in Africa during the latter part of 2017 and asked if she would house sit for him.

The victim said she readily agreed, thinking the money she would receive would cover some of her school expenses.

She said she went to the home alone about a month before Owens was scheduled to leave to discuss the details of keeping the house. They sat on a balcony drinking Moscow mules that Owens had made.

She said Owens continued topping off her drink without being asked to and, eventually, she blacked out. She said woke up naked in Owens’ bed and that he was having sex with her.

She said she initially didn’t tell anyone because she was embarrassed and because she didn’t want to lose the house-sitting job.

Another young woman testified that she frequently went to Owens’ home and that parties with young women were common occurrences. The victim in Wednesday’s case told this woman that Owens had raped her.

Owens, who did not testify, still has three trials pending involving sodomy and aggravated sexual battery charges involving three other young women. One trial is scheduled for each of the next three months, including one on Oct. 9.

Jenkins had wanted to try all of the cases together, but defense attorney Price Koch successfully argued to have the cases severed, saying it would be prejudicial against Owens to have so many women testifying against him at one time.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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