A repeat felon convicted of raping and robbing a transgender person in a St. Paul alley was sentenced Thursday to more than 27 years in prison.
Demetrius J. Miller, 33, was hit with consecutive prison terms for the violent offenses, including a 23-year sentence on the rape charge alone. That penalty was near the upper recommendation under state sentencing guidelines.
Miller, unhappy with his attorneys, chose to represent himself Thursday. But he gave little attention to prosecutor Shereen Askalani's argument for an upper-end sentence. Instead, he vowed to Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson to appeal the jury's conviction.
During the October trial, the 27-year-old victim, a woman transitioning to become a man, testified about offering marijuana to Miller in May and then being beaten and robbed in an alley behind a gas station in the 1300 block of W. University Avenue.
The victim's shorts were pulled down during the altercation, and after Miller saw the victim's biological makeup, he proceeded with the rape, according to the testimony.
On Thursday, Miller told Nathanson: "As God is my witness: I am innocent. There is no way I would rape a girl who looks like a man."
The victim, who left the Twin Cities area after the attack, did not appear in court, but provided a written statement read Thursday by Askalani. The prosecutor said the victim professed to no longer being "open and friendly," and added "he feels he is always looking over his shoulder" for the suspect.