Memphis woman fights back against attacker's release from prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis woman fights back against attacker's release from prison

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis woman who was once attacked in her home feels victimized again by her attacker's early release from prison.

In 1998, Kimberlee Morton was left clinging to life after she was brutally raped, stabbed and burned with bleach by a man she thought was her friend.

"I mean, he was a great guy, or so I thought up until the day he tried to kill me," he said.

Morton's attacker, Carlos Thomas, has been behind bars since that dreadful day. But according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, he will walk out of prison after serving only 85 percent of his sentence.  

Thomas shared an apartment with his girlfriend, right above Morton. She considered him a close friend until November 19, 1998, when she let him into her apartment to use the phone.  

"He just grabbed me and dragged me to my bed - threw me on the bed and savagely raped me," she said.

Morton said Thomas strangled her until she passed out.

"When I woke up he had already stabbed me repeatedly," she said. "He had already poured the bleach on me.  He had left a knife in my side he had wrapped telephone cords around my neck. He had already poured bleach all over my body."

Instead of going into hiding, Morton went public, sharing her story of survival with Maury Povich and Montel Williams.

"I'd rather wear these scars versus sleeping in my grave," she said.

Almost two and a half years after his arrest, Thomas entered a guilty plea and waived his right to a jury trial.

"He pled guilty the day before the trial," Morton said.

Thomas was given time served on the attempted murder charge, and sentenced to 15 years for aggravated rape. His judgment sheet indicates he would have to serve ALL 15 years.    

But fast-forward to 2011, when Morton learned the Department of Justice allows offenders to earn time reduction credits for completing programs and participating in activities. Thomas earned enough reduction credits to shave two years and three months off of his sentence.  

"I'm thinking he has to do all his time, that's what my judgment sheet says. ‘Aggravated rape, 100 percent,' and now I find out he's getting out," Morton said.

Morton pleased with the parole board for truth in her attacker's sentencing. Prosecutors amended Thomas' release order to include placing him under supervision for life - a law that was not on the books when he was convicted. As part of standard procedure he will be placed on the sex offender registry, but his freedom will come early.

"That's why I'm going to fight to get that changed," Morton said.

Morton's fight, which began with an unthinkable crime, has grown into a battle for victims of violence everywhere.

Just because something horrible has happened to you, that doesn't mean you can't go on it doesn't mean you can't be free," she said. "You have to forgive and I have forgiven him.  But just because I forgive him doesn't mean he shouldn't do all his time."

You can read the Department of Corrections' statement on Thomas' early release, and the reasons behind it, by clicking here and here.

Carlos Thomas declined our request for an interview.

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