Crime

Best gets life in prison for Rockview rape

Centre County Sheriff's deputies escort former SCI Rockview inmate Omar Best into the Centre County Courthouse annex, May 20, 2014. Best was sentenced Friday to remain in prison for life for raping a prison employee.
Centre County Sheriff's deputies escort former SCI Rockview inmate Omar Best into the Centre County Courthouse annex, May 20, 2014. Best was sentenced Friday to remain in prison for life for raping a prison employee. CDT file photo

O

mar Best will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Rockview inmate convicted in May of a slate of crimes related to the July 2013 rape of a state prison office worker was found to be a sexually violent predator Friday and received multiple life sentences under Pennsylvania’s three strikes sentencing provisions.

“This defendant’s life is a picture of savagery,” Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller told Centre County Judge Bradley P. Lunsford. “There is no question three strikes applies. He has about six strikes.”

Best’s criminal career started at age 14 in Philadelphia. He is now 37.

The hearing was not the first time he had been through a sexually violent predator proceeding. He was incarcerated at Rockview after being found guilty of rape, assault and robbery charges stemming from a 2011 incident in which a Philadelphia judge withheld that distinction.

“Philadelphia has let us down,” Parks Miller said.

Best’s prior offenses included the one for which he was sent to Rockview, the abduction of a woman who he took to his home, raped repeatedly, beat with a handgun, assaulted and dumped naked on the street.

In other cases, he indecently assaulted a woman and shot a man during a robbery, and attempted the rape of a different woman who survived jumping from the roof of a building to escape him.

“The word horrendous keeps coming to mind,” Lunsford said. “Quite frankly, you are probably the most dangerous defendant I have ever had in this courtroom.”

The victim and her family were in the courtroom for sentencing. The young woman cried softly as the judge passed sentence.

“I hope you hear the voice of your victim, as well as all your victims,” Lunsford said. “She and all of your victims are back in control.”

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