19-year-old sentenced to 25 years for rape, burglary

Ravell McLaughlin

Ravell McLaughlin, 19, pled guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree, Kidnapping, Burglary 1st Degree, Armed Robbery, and Larceny Tuesday morning, according to Lt. Jamie Seals.

He pled guilty to the charges just before opening statements were to begin in his trial.

Judge Edward B. Cottingham sentenced McLaughlin to 25 years in prison.

He broke into a home in Bennettsville last December, using a trash can to break into the second level of the home.

While inside, a woman who lived there startled McLaughlin, and he physically and sexually assaulted the victim at knifepoint.

Another resident found McLaughlin in the home, and deputies say McLaughlin ran away.

The Marlboro County Sheriff's Office, Bennettsville police, Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigated evidence found at scene. DNA found at the scene matched McLaughlin's, according to SLED.

During a pre-trial hearing Monday, Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniels questioned investigators about how they interrogated McLaughlin.

Lieutenant Jamie Seals says McLaughlin was read his Miranda rights and gave statements freely and voluntarily.

He says they never threatened McLaughlin or coerced him to confess to the crime.

McLaughlin also consented to a DNA swab, according to Lt. Seals.

A video of McLaughlin's interrogation was played for the judge.

In the video, McLaughlin described to investigators how he got inside the home.

McLaughlin said he saw a girl coming in his direction in the home, so he grabbed a box cutter, according to his statement to investigators.

He went on to tell investigators he asked the girl for some money and she grabbed her pocketbook.

During the videotaped confession, McLaughlin says he tried to have sex with the girl, but a man walked into the room so he ran away.

Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniels issued a statement to NewsChannel 15 on this case.

"Due to the diligent and thorough work of Lt. Jamie Seales and the entire Marlboro County Sheriff's Department, the Bennettsville Police Department, the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department and SLED, the State's case against Ravell McLaughlin concluded today with 25 years worth of justice being served for the victim and her family.

"Some in the community have suggested this may have been a consensual relationship between the defendant and the victim. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every piece of evidence, including an hour-long confession by the defendant, the blood on the victim and the way the defendant cut a window screen in order to gain entry, pointed entirely to a burglary that resulted in rape.

"Throughout this difficult process, the victim and her family were as dignified and classy as they could have been. On behalf of Solicitor Will Rogers and Assistant Solicitor Mary Thomas Johnson Lee, I am thankful justice was served today for this young lady."

During a pre-trial hearing Monday, Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniels questioned investigators about how they interrogated McLaughlin," said Daniels.

He has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he's eligible for parole.