James Cochran Jr., 33, is facing a potential sentence of life in prison after being found guilty as charged of Sexual Battery with a Deadly Weapon and Burglary. The jury returned the guilty verdict just after 6 p.m. last night following a two-day trial in Lee County.
The crime happened on August 27, 2018. The victim is a 65-year-old woman from Haiti. She was in Fort Myers visiting her son. On the day of the crime she was home alone doing laundry under the carport when the defendant came up to the house on a bicycle, carrying a guitar case.
She did not know who he was and he tried to speak to her in English, which she does not know, so she could not understand. When she tried to go up the stairs to go inside the house, the defendant pulled a gun on her and pushed her up the stairs. Once inside, he pushed the victim into the kitchen and committed a sexual battery while threatening her with the gun. He then immediately fled the scene.
The Fort Myers Police Department investigated the crime scene. DNA evidence was recovered on a napkin in the street as well as on the victim’s clothing. The forensic evidence was matched to the defendant, James Cochran Jr.
Cochran was taken into custody and the victim was able to positively identify him. He initially denied the crime, but then admitted to the attack, but falsely claimed it was consensual.
Assistant State Attorney Mary Anderson and Assistant State Attorney Natalie Stowe Heiderscheit prosecuted the case. During the trial, the defendant had multiple outbursts in front of the jury, including while he was testifying. He was ultimately removed from the courtroom. Sentencing is scheduled for January 13th.
State Attorney’s Office