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Charlotte man pleads guilty on rape charges

A 24-year-old Charlotte man will serve 34 to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to charges related to two rapes and an attempted rape at a south Charlotte apartment complex in 2009.

Phillip Payton pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree rape and one count of first-degree sexual offense.

The victims were all neighbors at the Yorktown Garden Apartments off Tyvola Road, where Payton also lived. In all three incidents, Payton was dressed in all black and used a substance to blur the victims’ vision.

On Feb. 28, 2009, at about 9:40 p.m., Payton entered the apartment of a then-20-year-old resident, who had been listening to music in her bedroom with the door closed and her 1-year-old son sleeping on a couch in the room.

The victim initially struggled with Payton, but stopped so she would not draw attention to her son. Payton sprayed a bathroom cleaner in her eyes before raping her and leaving out the back door.

Seven months later, Payton entered the apartment of a then-62-year-old resident around 6 a.m. The victim screamed and beat the wall of her bedroom, trying to raise alarm. Payton put his hand over her neck and mouth to quiet her.

The victim continued to struggle and yelled, “Don’t do this, Jehovah’s going to get you!” She reached for something on the wall. She believed Payton thought she was reaching for a weapon, causing him to leave her apartment.

A bottle of spray cleaner not belonging to the victim was later found behind her bed.

The final incident occurred the next month at around 7:30 a.m. The then-28-year-old victim had just walked her son to the bus stop and returned to bed when Payton entered her apartment and jumped on top of her. The victim bit Payton on the finger, and he removed a glove and punched her in the face.

Payton took a small white bottle, which he later said was deodorant, out of his pocket and rubbed it in the victim’s eyes before raping her and running out the back of her apartment.

All three victims moved out of their apartments on the day of their assaults, prosecutors said. The second victim sold all of her furniture and left the state.

Payton was arrested Oct. 22, 2009.

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