Judge sentences Tennessee serial rapist to 371 years in prison

William Gossett (Source: Shelby County Jail)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Southaven man who a judge called “a poster child for serial rapists” will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Judge Lee Coffee sentenced 37-year-old William Gossett to 371 years in prison Monday, saying Gossett never deserves to walk the streets as a free man again.

Gossett pleaded guilty in September to five counts of aggravated rape and 21 other felonies related to a dozen break-ins across Memphis. He has been in custody since his arrest in 2016.

According to the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office, Gossett first entered the criminal justice system in 1998 when he was found responsible for raping two children ages 5 and 8.

The prosecutor’s office says the cases that put him away for life include 15 victims from incidents that occurred between July 4, 2012 and April 10, 2016. Most of those happened at apartments across the city where Gossett often entered through a sliding glass door or windows, and he was usually armed with a gun or knife.

When he was arrested, the DA’s office says investigators found a number of items belonging to Gossett’s victims at his home in Southaven and in pawn shops.

Gossett refused to attend his sentencing hearing Monday.

Still, one of his victims read a statement to the courtroom, saying she was 16 at the time of her rape. She said she had nightmares, had to quit school for a month, underwent counseling and is “scarred for life.”

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