By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. -- A Hannibal man was sentenced to 25 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and sexual assault.
Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd sentenced Melvis G. Palmer, 37, to 20 years in prison on the assault charge and five years in prison on the sexual assault charge. Those sentences will be served consecutively. According to Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Tom Redington, Palmer will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentencing, meaning he'll be in prison for a little more than 21 years.
Palmer was arrested on Sept. 27, 2011, after he raped a Hannibal woman. Members of the Hannibal Police Department were called to the Hannibal Regional Hospital Emergency Room, where a woman was being treated for minor injuries she said she sustained when a man held a knife to her throat and raped her. Palmer was taken into custody a short time later and lodged in the Marion County Jail.
According to Redington, Palmer called a family member of a friend and asked her to help buy jewelry for the woman's relative. Redington said Palmer raped the victim at an apartment in downtown Hannibal. Palmer then forced the woman to drive them to a spot in the country south of Hannibal, where Palmer tried to strangle the woman. The woman got away from Palmer and called family members to rescue her and take her to the hospital.
This is the second significant prison term that Palmer has received. He was convicted by a Pike County, Mo., jury of sodomy in a Dec. 1993 case. In that case, Palmer was found to have touched the genitals of a 7-year-old victim with his hand. Palmer received a 20-year prison sentence in that case.
"I hope (this sentence) puts him away for the rest of his life, and I think it will come pretty close," Redington said.
Palmer had been in custody since his arrest. His bail was set at $100,000.