Before Centreville's Edward Jackson Bunn was sentenced in court, Friday, for breaking into the homes of two local women and sexually assaulting them at gunpoint, one of his victims testified against him.
"It's affected my life in many different ways — more emotionally than anything," she said. "It's difficult for me to be alone, especially at night. I still don't feel secure." Crying, she added, "Even if I lock my door, I'm afraid someone's going to get in."
After further testimony, plus arguments from both prosecuting and defense attorneys, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Terrence Ney handed down Bunn's punishment. He sentenced the 29-year-old man to 20 years in prison.
The assaults happened in January and February. Bunn, of 5836 Waterdale Court in the Centreville section of Little Rocky Run, entered the victims' homes uninvited, bound the women with duct tape and then photographed them in compromising positions.
The first incident was Jan. 3, around 12:30 a.m., on Sunset Ridge Court. The woman, 32, heard a noise in her home and, to her horror, discovered that a masked man with a black bag and a silver gun had somehow gotten inside.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kimberly Pace said the woman begged him not to hurt her. But he forced her to take off her clothes. He covered her eyes and mouth with gray duct tape and made her pose in lingerie while he photographed her. Then he forced her to perform a sexual act. Said Pace: "She cried the whole time."
The victim later told police her assailant had blond hair and blue eyes and wore gloves and a black jacket with zippers. She also described his handgun and duffel bag.
The second incident was Feb. 8, around 11:30 a.m., on Selby Court, in Crofton Commons. A woman, 26, answered her doorbell; the caller, Bunn, said he wanted to contact her husband. She took his phone number but, after she closed the door, he came inside with a gun.
She later told police he made her undress at gunpoint, bound her hands and legs with gray duct tape and plastic flexible ties and covered her eyes and mouth with the tape. Pace said Bunn took about 24 photos. After he left, the woman loosened some of her ropes and dialed 911 with her chin.
She described her attacker as 5 feet 7 inches, blond, wearing Oakley sunglasses and carrying a dark bag. Bunn is 5 feet 7 inches, 160 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes, and his DNA matched samples found on the second victim. Police searches of his home and car yielded cameras, film, photos, Oakley sunglasses, gray duct tape, cable ties, three black bags, a black mask, sexual devices and wire cutters.
Police arrested him April 19, charging him with two counts of burglary while armed and two counts of abduction with intent to defile. He pleaded guilty, Sept. 17, in Circuit Court and returned last Friday for sentencing. First, though, January's victim told how his attack made her afraid to live alone, anymore, and forced her from her home in Centreville.
"I had just bought my house there and spent a year remodeling it," she said. "[But] I had to leave — I rented it out. I couldn't stay there, anymore."
Public defender Jeanne Klapps said that, in jail, Bunn took courses on "The Impact of Crime" and "Violence Intervention." She also gave Judge Ney photos of Bunn and his fiancee, plus Bunn as a Marine Corps honor grad.
But lest Ney be swayed by them, Pace said the other woman Bunn "attacked and violated" was also present in court — and she'd submitted a written, victim-impact statement — but she felt too uncomfortable to testify.
Pace said Bunn admitted seeing January's victim prior to the offense and "watch[ing] her to see where she lived. Then he came back with a bag and a gun [and attacked her] — and saved the whole, horrifying episode on film for his personal gratification."
Pace stressed that these crimes occurred in the so-called "safety" of these women's homes: "They were in the right place, doing what they should have been doing."
She read a section of the victim-impact statement of January's victim. In it, the woman wrote: "I was in my own home — not in a bar or on the street — but in the safest and most-private place you can be. And now I feel completely vulnerable. I have nightmares of being touched and raped, over and over, by a stranger. My doors are locked, but he still gets in."
Requesting a stiff sentence, Pace said, "[The victims] cry out for the court to help them, and the hand of justice should be heavy. Your Honor, I'm asking you to send him to prison for the rest of his life."
But Klapps said her client was "completely ashamed and remorseful" and needn't be locked up forever: "He can be punished, and treated, with hope that he can someday lead a productive life." She recommended a sentence enabling Bunn to "get the help he needs to figure out why he did this."
"He's sorry, but there's no explanation — no suggestion of mental illness," the judge interjected. "There was no triggering event before these terrible crimes occurred — no reason to suspect it was going to happen in the first place or, worse, the second place."
Klapps said Bunn took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty to spare the victims from testifying. She said his natural mother abandoned him, making him feel "he'd been dumped, like garbage," and he was abused before being adopted. Perhaps, she said, "He had this [violence] brewing beneath the surface."
Bunn wrote letters to each woman, and Klapps read excerpts. To January's victim, he wrote: "I stole your innocence and sense of safety and shattered your dreams. I'm sorry ... you did not deserve it." To February's victim — a newlywed — he expressed regret. To her husband, he wrote: "I'm sorry for what I did to your wife."
But Pace said Bunn didn't take responsibility for his actions until he was caught, and he used his military experience "when he tied and taped [the victims]. He didn't care about these women until April — when [arrest] warrants were served on him."
Calling him a "master manipulator," she warned Ney not to let him "fool you into thinking he can be a productive member of society. He clearly had a plan and carried it out," said Pace. "A month after the first offense, he was knocking on doors, [looking for another victim]."
Crying, Bunn stood and said he never wanted to hurt anyone again: "I'm not a monster — I'm not a predator. I need help. Please accept my heartfelt apology."
But the judge was troubled by all of Bunn's planning — plus the fact that he "[did] it once and then again a month later." Said Ney: "This matter is not just about the victims, but about the safety of the community. It's difficult to experience a greater fear than the ones these women did — the fear of harm, the fear of death."
The judge also noted other "chilling aspects" of Bunn's crimes — his "waiting, watching, use of a gun [and other] devices, and then filming it all." For each incident, he sentenced Bunn to 10 years in prison and ran the sentences consecutively, for a total of 20 years. Ney also placed Bunn on five years probation upon release and ordered him to complete sex-offender counseling and register as a sex-offender.
Afterward, the February victim's mother said Bunn's sentence wasn't long enough, and the January victim's mother said she preferred life in prison so he'd never be "on the streets again to harm another person." As the bailiffs led Bunn back to jail, a male voice rang out in the courtroom, telling him, "I hope you rot in hell."