Harris County courts: Man pleads to aggravated assault in 2010 rape case

A man scheduled for trial this week on charges he raped a 76-year-old woman in Harris County pleaded guilty Friday to aggravated assault and burglary charges, prosecutors said.

Kelley E. Rennie was sentenced to 20 years in prison to be followed by 20 years probation. He was indicted last spring in connection to the May 2010 home invasion.

Rennie had been accused of cutting through a screen door and raping and choking the woman. Assistant District Attorney Richard Mobley said Rennie’s DNA was found on the woman’s clothing.

Authorities also found a knife used to cut the door, Mobley said, but prosecutors may have faced challenges proving the rape charge despite the evidence.

“The victim has no recollection of the event and doesn’t believe she was raped,” Mobley said, adding the woman was satisfied with Rennie’s 20-year prison sentence. “It’s a very strange case.”

Rennie, who according to his attorney has lived in Columbus and Pine Mountain Valley, Ga., was arrested last March after investigators received the DNA test results.

Eric Webb of the public defender’s office said Rennie would have maintained any sex acts were consensual had the case gone to trial, an assertion prosecutors flatly rejected given the age difference between Rennie, 26, and the elderly victim.

The defense attorney acknowledged the DNA evidence would have been “extremely hard to overcome.”

Webb said Rennie had known the victim less than five years and occasionally cut her grass.

“I think that we got the best possible deal in the case considering the serious nature of the charges,” Webb said. “It also took a potential life sentence off the table. I know the state thought they had a very strong case.”