• Former Lyft driver sentenced to life in prison for raping passenger

    By: Chris Jose

    Updated:

    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A woman says her friend's 21st birthday party turned into a nightmare when a Lyft driver raped her in his car three years ago.

    On Thursday, a judge sentenced Jerome Booze to a life sentence for the 2016 attack. In Georgia, a life sentence carries a term of 35 years. The judge ordered Booze to spent the rest of his life on probation after he's served his time.

    Channel 2's Chris Jose was in a Cobb County courtroom when Booze was sentenced. The judge said Booze exploited the drunk college student in December 2016.

    A police report says the 20-year-old Smyrna woman, who isn't being identified, used the Lyft service to get a ride home from an Atlanta bar to her Vinings-area apartment. According to the report, instead of dropping the victim off at her apartment, Booze stopped at a parking lot and raped her. 

    In court, Jose heard testimony that the victim was so drunk that she threw up twice, blacked out, and could barely stand. 

    Booze testified in his own defense, saying that the victim raped him. He claims he had no knowledge she was drunk. 


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    Booze was charged with felony rape. 

    The victim woke up the next morning and had flashbacks of the attack, but had no memory of the ride or how she got home, prosecutors said.

    On Thursday, the Cobb County Assistant District Attorney, Courtney Veal, read an emotional statement on the victim's behalf. 

    "He pretended to be concerned for my welfare, but instead of taking me home safely, or getting me help, he preyed on me," Veal read in a statement. "He raped me."

    "I thank God that the 12 members of the jury saw through his lies and convicted him, so he will not prey on any other helpless females, as a Lyft driver or in every day life," the statement continued. 

    Judge Ann Harris looked directly at Booze as she handed down his sentence. 

    "She was vulnerable, she was at your mercy, and she was completely incapable of rational decisions and exercising judgment," Harris said. 

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