Jackson Man Gets Life Sentence In Child Rape

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In the summer of 2013, panic gripped the city of Jackson after a 6-year-old girl was taken from home. That fear turned to anger after the girl was found after being assaulted, raped and left for dead. Now the man responsible for those actions is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Zachary R. Dunn, 32, formerly of State Route 776 in Jackson, received the maximum penalty possible last week when Jackson County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Regan sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Dunn was found guilty of eight of nine counts related to an incident on July 26, 2013, when he kidnapped a 6-year-old female from her home, took her to a Liberty Twp. cemetery where he beat her and raped her, and then left her for dead. The abduction brought many local agencies together to search for the child before she eventually walked to a house and received help.

Prior to announcing the sentence, Regan went over the case laws that prosecuting and defense attorneys had submitted to him to review. What he had to decide was whether each offense that Dunn was convicted of merged to cause the same harm, or did not merge, causing separate harm to the victim. He ended up merging the same counts together with one sentence.

Regan stated that based on testimony and evidence presented, Dunn would be likely to re-offend, and because he was on drugs at the time of the offenses and had not shown any remorse for his actions, the sentencing would be life in prison.

At that time, the victim’s mother shouted “Oh, thank you, God.”

In addition to the life sentence on the kidnapping charge and the life without parole sentence for rape, Dunn was sentenced to three years for the abduction, five years on gross sexual imposition and eight years for felonious assault — all of which would be served consecutive to the life sentence.

Regan also ordered that Dunn would be listed as a Tier III sexual offender. Dunn’s counsel throughout the trial and sentencing were Douglas Francis and John Cornely of the Ohio Public Defenders Office.

Dunn has 30 days to appeal.

After court was adjourned the victim’s mother pointed at the prosecution team, consisting of Assistant Attorney General Angela Canepa, Associate Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn S. Kelly, and Jackson County Prosecutor Justin Lovett, and said, “They did their job very well. They got justice for my baby, and he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life.”

Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office released a statement after Dunn was sentenced saying “This defendant committed one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and with today’s sentence he will never have the chance to hurt another child ever again.” DeWine concluded by saying those who target children in Ohio will be met with the full force of the law.

“Zachary Dunn is a callous child predator who still shows no genuine remorse for the terrible acts he committed against a defenseless 6-year-old girl, and he is most deserving of nothing less than the maximum possible punishment that was handed down today,” added Lovett.