RIDGELAND, SC (May 30, 2023) – A 41-year-old Jasper County man who attacked and raped a housekeeper while she was working at a Hardeeville motel has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Derrick Emmanuel Roseberry, 41, pleaded guilty as indicted Tuesday to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and second-degree burglary (violent) in the Oct. 26, 2021, assault of a 39-year-old mother of three.
Roseberry’s trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in Jasper County General Sessions Court, but he instead decided to plead guilty.
“The State was ready to move forward with prosecuting this defendant and the victim was ready to take the stand and face her attacker,” said Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “She is extremely brave.”
While cleaning room 253 at the Econo Lodge on Whyte Hardee Boulevard, the woman said a man wearing a black shirt, flowery pants, a hat and flip-flops came into the room behind her, closed the door and shut the curtains. She told him to get out, and when he didn’t leave, she began yelling for help. He grabbed her by the neck, threw her to the ground and then put his knee on her neck. She tried calling 911, but the man grabbed her phone and then grabbed her and forced her into the bathroom, where he sexually assaulted her.
Security footage from the motel captures a man matching Roseberry’s description entering the room, closing the curtains and later leaving. The next day, Hardeeville Police officers spotted Roseberry walking across a parking lot with a blanket over his head. He was wearing the same clothing as the day before.
Roseberry’s DNA collected by a nurse following the sexual assault and Hardeeville police was linked to Roseberry. The victim identified Roseberry as the man who raped her after viewing a photo lineup. Police were also familiar with Roseberry, as he had been previously ticketed for trespassing at area hotels.
Circuit Court Judge Robert Bonds handed down the sentence.
Swanson is a member of the Solicitor’s Office Career Criminal Unit, which prosecutes the circuit’s most violent and habitual offenders. That team has earned convictions against 450 of the 489 defendants it has prosecuted since its formation in late 2009.
Swanson also leads the office’s Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable people. The Solicitor’s Office, in conjunction with community partners, operates the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center, South Carolina’s first accredited Family Justice Center. If you, or a loved one, has been sexually assaulted and need help from a forensic nurse, call the VSC at (843) 790-6220. You can also email the center at [email protected] or visit the center’s website at https://scsolicitor14.org/victim-services-center/.