A 25-year-old man with a history of violent assault is heading back to prison, this time for grabbing a woman off a Minneapolis street and raping her in his car until police intervened.
Ernest F. Wilkes, of Minneapolis, was sentenced Friday in Hennepin County District Court to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping in connection with the May 17 attack in the Police Department’s Third Precinct, which covers the southeastern quarter of the city.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Wilkes will serve roughly the first 9⅓ years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Wilkes’s lengthy criminal history includes offenses committed while he was a juvenile. As an adult, he was convicted in 2010 and sent to prison for aggravated robbery in Hennepin County. He’s also been convicted of failing to register as a predatory offender and for two misdemeanor assaults.
On the night of the rape, police officers arrived after responding to a 911 call and saw the woman being raped while she was trying to fend off her attacker. She told police she just left her home and noticed a car drive by her four or five times before it stopped. Wilkes got out and said, “I’m new to the area. Can you tell me where 29th and Franklin is?” the criminal complaint against Wilkes read.
The woman gave directions and began walking away. That’s when Wilkes grabbed and choked her, then dragged her into his car.
Along with raping her, Wilkes punched the woman in the face and choked her into unconsciousness, the charging document noted.