WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A New Hanover County jury returned a guilty verdict for a man accused of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in downtown Wilmington.
Kevin Lamont Whiting, 30, of New Hanover County, was found guilty of first-degree kidnapping, assault inflicting physical injury by strangulation, and habitual misdemeanor assault. He was acquitted of attempted first-degree forcible rape.
He was sentenced to 13 to 16 years in prison for the cimes.
On Dec. 1, 2017, a woman visiting from out of state left her downtown hotel for an early morning walk along the marina. Whiting followed the woman, then proceeded to beat and strangle her until she lost consciousness. He then dragged her to a nearby field.
When the victim regained consciousness, Whiting told her that he was going to have sex with her. Crediting the victim’s quick thinking, prosecutors said she managed to convince Whiting to stop assaulting her and let her return to her hotel. Meanwhile, another woman on her way to work saw the bloodied victim and Whiting at the marina and called 911.
When the victim arrived back at her hotel, staff assisted her in contacting law enforcement.
Wilmington police responded and immediately started questioning people along the Riverwalk, until they found Whiting at the pavilion at Market and Water streets. The officer noticed that Whiting had a mark on his hand.
Using the victim’s description of the assailant, the officer connected Whiting to the offense. The victim later identified Whiting as the assailant through a photo lineup.
The victim sustained physical injuries to her temple, nose, neck, shoulders, hip, and knee during the attack. Prosecutors said she came back to Wilmington in order to testify because she felt that if she could help prevent any future attacks, there would be one positive outcome from the traumatizing ordeal.
In the weeks leading up to the 2017 assault, prosecutors said several women had reported to law enforcement that Whiting had approached them downtown and made them feel scared and uncomfortable.
The jurors heard about one such incident when Whiting masturbated while watching a woman reading in Bijou Park. Whiting has prior convictions including, but not limited to, two counts of communicating threats, two simple assaults, indecent exposure, three assaults on a female, domestic violence protective order violation, and assault with a deadly weapon.
Whiting has a pending secret peeping case. The next court date on that is July 16.