>Riding in Cars with Diabolical Rapists

by jvaragona


Before tossing out an unread newspaper a week or two ago, I browsed through, making sure I didn’t miss out on a celebrity scandal, a relative’s death, or a new way that the President has devised to screw this country. While I didn’t find anything like that, one headline did catch my eye: Rapist Gets Life Plus 25 Years. Granted, it is kind of vague but you wonder what kind of brutality could lead to such a sentence, so I read on.

Rapist gets life plus 25 years
Robert Patrick

St. Louis — A man who brutally raped a woman in her Dogtown home and beat her with a baseball bat — then called her boyfriend to gloat— was sentenced Friday evening to life plus 25 years in prison.

James Thomas Fujimoto, 26, broke into the home of the woman, then 23, in the 6300 block of Berthold Avenue on Sept. 1, 2002, struck her repeatedly in the head with a bat, then sodomized and raped her for three hours. At one point he said, “Tell me you love me,” Assistant Circuit Attorney Mary Pat Benninger told St. Louis Circuit Judge Philip Heagney.

After Fujimoto left the woman’s apartment, he called her boyfriend. “He wanted him to see it,” Benninger said. “He wanted him to know what he’d done.”

Fujimoto pleaded guilty last month to forcible rape, forcible sodomy, assault and robbery charges on the day his trial was supposed to begin.

The attack was so violent that the woman had to have about one-third of her face reconstructed. She still suffers vertigo from crushed ear canals, officials said, and has since moved.

Benninger called Fujimoto a predator and a sadist and said he was excited by violence and fueled by control. He had stalked the victim and was also stalking other women, she said, and was “beyond rehabilitation.”

Fujimoto apologized for the “horrible thing” he’d done and told Heagney that he had broken into the woman’s apartment to burglarize it, not to rape her.

Fujimoto was arrested in 2005 after a DNA sample from the crime scene matched a sample collected from him as he was being paroled from prison on other charges.

I immediately recognized the name. I went to high school with this nut job for 3 years. I sat at the same lunch table as this cocky S.O.B. with this the chess team and computer club, neither of which I was a member of, yet they were one of the few groups I felt comfortable around. He didn’t fit in with them either, but if how I felt about him was any indication, he was too annoying for any others to deal with him. He wasn’t complete reject though. He tried to have his way with the ladies, and I’m sure he did at times.

Did anyone see this coming though? I certainly didn’t think too much of him, but hardly ever do you consider people around you to be capable of such psychotic episodes. I mean, I now know of someone that is in prison for life for some heinous things.

When I saw Jim’s name though, I thought back to around 2005, when I was working as a fertilizer merchandiser, such a respectable profession. I was having lunch at a nearby Burger King with a coworker. As we left, I noticed Jim on a pay phone outside, so I mumbled “Hey Jim” as I passed him. He screamed back some name that wasn’t my own, but that got us talking about high school.

Now I try not to hold how folks were in high school against him, so I was congenial with the guy. He told me that he didn’t have a car and that his sick grandmother was not answering the phone. He proceeded to ask me for a ride home, which was about 15 minutes away. Since my job didn’t necessarily require my presence, I agreed. He told me he’d give me some gas money once we got there. My coworker didn’t have much of a choice and tagged along.

I don’t remember too much of the conversation. I’m sure it was your typical small talk about the good ol’ days. Who do you still talk to? Have you heard about or have you seen so-and-so? And of course, he still rubbed me the wrong way.

When we arrived at his destination, he left his orange windbreaker in my car and ran inside. He left the front entrance open and left us waiting. We proceeded to wait for at least 10 minutes. After some discussion with my coworker, we decided to take off. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. He obviously wasn’t in a hurry to give me gas money and if something was wrong with grandma, I would assume he would run back out to us for assistance.

After reading the article, which deals with an incident that happened before this occassion, I wonder if that was his house, if there was a grandma, and even if that windbreaker was his, which I gave away to a friend of mine.

I researched further on his crime.

Man pleads guilty to brutal rape in Dogtown
Robert Patrick

St. Louis — James Thomas Fujimoto, 26, admitted Monday that he was responsible for the violent rape and baseball-bat beating of a woman in her Dogtown neighborhood home in 2002.

Fujimoto, of St. Louis County, acknowledged that he broke into her home in the 6300 block of Berthold Avenue on Sept. 1, 2002.

He beat the then-23-year-old woman in the head with an aluminum baseball bat, then sodomized and repeatedly raped her for three hours.

Fujimoto’s trial was supposed to begin Monday, but he pleaded guilty of forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first-degree assault and first-degree robbery rather than face a jury.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Mary Pat Benninger told Circuit Judge Philip Heagney that she plans to ask for two consecutive life terms for the crime.

Fujimoto had the victim try to bathe away any physical evidence and then raped her again, Benninger said in court. He stole money from her piggy bank and took the keys to her car before leaving.

Fujimoto was not the first man arrested in connection with the crime. A drifter found near the crime scene confessed to the attack but was released after his DNA did not match semen found at the scene.

Fujimoto was arrested in 2005 based on a DNA match. His DNA was in the Missouri database because of a recently changed state law that expanded DNA taking to all convicted felons in Missouri, not just the violent ones.

He was serving time on second-degree burglary and attempted burglary convictions from 1999. He also has been convicted of tampering with a motor vehicle in Franklin County, and fraudulent use of a credit device in St. Louis County.

Fujimoto, who dropped out of school in the 11th grade but later got his high school equivalency certificate and attended some college classes, still faces a stealing charge in St. Louis County.

The victim sat about 10 feet from him during Monday’s plea hearing, at times staring at him and at times crying. The attack was so violent that she had to have about one-third of her face reconstructed, and she still suffers vertigo from crushed ear canals, officials said.

She has since moved.

So to make it creepier, he was originally arrested for this incident the year I gave him that ride and probably not too long after, considering that was during the summer that I did him the favor. You never know with people, but you should probably follow that intuition. I didn’t have the intuition that he was a brutal rapist, but that he was generally a loser, and perhaps that should have been good enough.

When I broke this story to those I went to school with, I received quite a few messages from shocked females, some even stating that they had crushes on him back in the day. It’s fortunate that they left it at that, but makes me wonder what else he may have done out there.