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Rapist exhausts appeals, will remain imprisoned until at least 2071

‘He can pay for the evil things he did in prison while I live happy, free and whole, survivor says by Lynn LaRowe | May 13, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
(Stock photo)

Editor's Note: It is Texarkana Gazette policy to withhold the names of victims of sexual assault. Amy Stanley, who has become an advocate for sexual assault survivors, asked that her name be used.

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- A Texarkana man found guilty in 2017 of raping and robbing a woman at gunpoint in 2015 wasn't convicted because his lawyers were inadequate, a circuit judge in Miller County ruled Thursday.

Circuit Judge Carlton Jones issued findings and an order Thursday denying a petition from Vasquez Dominique Hayes, 27, to appoint a lawyer to pursue a new trial for him based on a claim that the lawyers who defended him before a jury were ineffective and that their allegedly poor performance affected the outcome of his trial.

"Mr. Hayes has the burden of showing that his trial counsel was deficient, which requires more than mere error, mistake, or poor trial strategy," Jones' findings state. "The court has reviewed the petition and files and records in this case and they conclusively show that the petitioner is entitled to no relief."

Before complaining to Jones, the trial judge, that his trial lawyers were ineffective, Hayes' convictions for two counts of rape, aggravated residential burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft of property and theft of a debit/credit card were affirmed in October 2021 by the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Hayes' victim, Amy Stanley, said she is relieved her battle is over.

"After seven long years, Hayes has run out of ploys," Stanley said. "Judge Jones succinctly laid out the overwhelming evidence in the denial. It feels amazing to be heard and believed."

Hayes covered his face, wore sunglasses and carried a weapon the night he waited for his former teacher to open her door and let out her dog. Hayes pushed his way into Stanley's duplex on Dudley Street in Texarkana, Arkansas, shortly after midnight Nov. 22, 2015.

Hayes raped Stanley in her own bed. Stanley said she thought she was sure to be murdered when Hayes insisted she ride in her car with him to withdraw money from an ATM to put in his pocket. Hayes threatened to shoot her and her dog and casually mentioned throwing her in a river.

Stanley was terrified when Hayes dumped her on Fairview Avenue at about 3 a.m. and drove away in her car, which he damaged on a metal barrier, shattering her windshield and ruining her hood. Stanley's trauma was compounded as she told her story to law enforcement and waited for hours to be seen at a local emergency room for a sexual assault exam she describes as a "second rape."

Stanley was shocked when she learned her attacker was once a child she taught in a church school who had developed an obsession with her.

Today, Stanley considers herself an advocate for victims of sexual violence and has acted to improve Arkansas law for survivors.

"My life is on a beautiful path, and I'm only looking forward. The ugliness belongs to Hayes," Stanley said. "He can pay for the evil things he did in prison while I live happy, free and whole."

Jones' findings

In findings of fact and conclusions of law issued Thursday, Jones addressed each of Hayes' six complaints about his trial lawyers, finding each without merit.

Jones noted that there was an abundance of evidence of "forcible compulsion" by Hayes. Among the evidence presented at trial was a video recorded by an ATM machine. In the video Hayes could be seen using Stanley's debit card with his face covered and dark sunglasses obscuring his eyes. The expression on Stanley's face showed fear and panic.

Jones refers in the findings to Hayes' statements during an interview with two Texarkana, Arkansas, detectives Nov. 30, 2015, during which he admitted to using a BB pistol as though it were a real gun and asked if Stanley knew it was him who had raped, kidnapped and robbed her.

"If this were a consensual encounter, would Hayes need to ask detectives if AS knew it was he who had perpetrated these acts against her?" Jones wrote.

The findings refer as well to video of Hayes using Stanley's debit card at a convenience store in the hours after the attack and to his attempt to disguise her stolen car by applying window tint to it before abandoning it in an apartment complex parking lot.

Hayes is serving an 80-year term in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections in Gould, Arkansas. He will be eligible for parole Nov. 28, 2071. Eligibility for parole is not a guarantee that parole will be granted.

Print Headline: Rapist exhausts appeals, will remain imprisoned until at least 2071

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