City man found guilty on 5 felony counts
Franklin County Times
A Russellville man could face five life sentences after a Franklin County jury found him guilty of five felonies Friday evening.
Ronnie Gholston, 48, of 187 Gravel Hill Road in Russellville, was found guilty of first-degree rape, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, unauthorized use of an occupied vehicle and first-degree theft of property.
Gholston forced an employee of the Cash America store into her car, drove her to a field, and raped her before returning to the store and forcing her to retrieve money from inside.
Gholston was found in Muscle Shoals the next day with the victim's car.
Gholston told the court the victim had consensual sex with him and that taking the money from the business was her idea.
The jury only deliberated for one hour and twenty minutes before reaching their verdict.
"This is kind of case is emotional, and it drains the victim and everyone involved," District Attorney Joey Rushing said. "We appreciate the jury considering all the evidence in this case."
Rushing added the investigation conducted by the Russellville Police Department corroborated the victim's story, and that it is because of their good police work that the case came together.
"It says a lot about the Russellville Police Department, Lt. Scotty Lowery, and Capt. David Hester that they were able to go from an unknown suspect to enough evidence to lead to a conviction in 24 hours," Rushing said.
Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey ordered Gholston to remain in custody until sentencing, which is anticipated to be in late January.