CUMBERLAND COUNTY, PA (PennLive) – Fode Doukoure spent most of his time staring at the floor of a Cumberland County courtroom Monday before he pleaded guilty to drugging and molesting a 74-year-old West Shore woman.
And though his plea agreement will trigger the 23-year-old West African native’s prompt release from county prison, it seems unlikely he’ll be staying in the U.S for long.
This was a bizarre case which was resolved moments before a jury was to be selected for Doukoure’s trial on a lengthy list of charges.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Volkert Jr. said Doukoure was accused of molesting the woman not once, but twice, while living at her home.
The victim, who attended Monday’s court hearing in a wheelchair, claimed Doukoure first fondled her in her Lower Allen Township home in July 2016, Volkert said.
The second time was more frightening. Volkert said the woman told investigators she was sitting at her computer when Doukoure doused her with pepper spray, then put a rag over her nose and mouth that made her pass out.
That rag was soaked in chemicals similar to chloroform, the prosecutor said. “It rendered her unconscious and it could have killed her,” he told Judge Christylee Peck.
“She woke up and…her underwear was on backwards,” Volkert added. He said Doukoure also admitted he had bound the woman’s hands.
Doukoure’s agreement required him to plead guilty to charges of aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, indecent assault and unlawful administration of an intoxicant.
Peck sentenced him to 1 to 2 years in county prison, noting Doukoure will be freed because he already has spent more than 16 months behind bars awaiting trial.
The judge stressed the convictions place Doukoure, who is in the U.S. on a green card, at risk of being deported to his home country of Ghana by federal immigration authorities.
Defense Attorney Aaron Holt said he had advised Doukoure of that likely consequence of his guilty pleas and recommended Doukoure seek advice from an immigration lawyer.
Doukoure told Peck he didn’t consult an immigration attorney because, “I could not afford one.”
He apologized when Peck gave him the chance to speak. “I will stay out of trouble and stay away from people who would put trouble in my way,” he said.
“I do have a concern about your conduct here,” Peck told Doukoure. “It obviously affected (the victim) a lot emotionally.”
The victim chose not to speak. Volkert said she endorsed Doukoure’s plea deal. “It was a plea that the family accepted,” he said. “They wanted closure on this case.”