Man gets 17 years for home invasion, sexual assault

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A 31-year-old man was sentenced to 17 years for breaking into a woman's home and sexually assaulting her in North Charleston.

On Wednesday, a Charleston County jury found Joseph Richard Gene Graddick guilty of first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping regarding a 2008 home invasion and sexual assault.

On June 16, 2008, the victim was assaulted inside her own home in St. Charles Place in North Charleston. Authorities say Graddick, armed with a screwdriver, entered the apartment through an unlocked window after prying off the screen. According to police, Graddick concealed his identity by covering his head and face with a t-shirt and wore socks on his hands.

Authorities report that after making entry, Graddick assaulted the victim as she slept on her living room couch, standing over her and covering her mouth with one hand. The victim suffered lacerations to her face and neck, a swollen lip, and a contusion near her right eye.

Police say the fight was followed by a sexual assault with Graddick then taking her upstairs and trying to lock her in the bathroom before fleeing. The victim chased him outdoors wearing only the shirt she had been sleeping in and alerted a neighbor to help her call police.

At the time of the assault, Graddick's identity was unknown to the victim. During the attack she was able to only make note of a distinctive watch he was wearing. A few days later the victim noticed a man watching her at a nearby Subway and noted the watch. It was discovered that her attacker was the boyfriend of a neighbor.

DNA evidence recovered from the victim identified Graddick as the attacker. The samples were analyzed by SLED and compared against the CODIS database for convicted offenders and a match was made.

Assistant Solicitor, Timmy Finch, said that the credibility of the victim and the strength of the DNA evidence convinced the jury of Graddick's guilt. "The DNA evidence put him there. The victim's story was supported by circumstantial evidence. The crucial link came from the victim's own bravery and wherewithal to take notice of items on her attacker in a most terrifying moment."

The jury returned its verdict six hours after the close of the case Wednesday morning.
At the time of this assault, Graddick was out on bond for four Strong Arm Robberies from May of 2008. He was previously convicted of Possession with Intent to Distribute Crack and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine in 2004. In 2009 he was convicted of Criminal Trespass and Battery in Georgia.

Circuit Judge Deadra Jefferson sentenced Graddick to 17 years in prison on each of the crimes to run concurrently.

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