AURORA | A serial rapist convicted of sexually assaulting two Overland High School seniors over the course of several hours in September 2018 has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Andrew Baum on Thursday sentenced Ble Kore, 25, to 12 years to life in prison for a pair of felony sexual assault charges. Jurors convicted Kore on the two counts following a five-day trial in December.
A native of Ivory Coast, Kore raped a 17-year-old girl after picking her up as she was walking home from school on Sept. 13, 2018, according to court documents.
Kore pulled up beside the girl and told her “he had someone watching her mom,” which prompted her to get into the passenger’s seat of the car, according to an arrest affidavit. Kore then drove to the guest parking lot of the girl’s own apartment complex, climbed over the vehicle’s center console and raped her in the passenger’s seat.
“Mr. Kore is the monster of every parent’s nightmare,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Danielle Jaramillo said at the sentencing hearing.
Kore proceeded to rape a second 17-year-old girl in the same car, a black Volkswagen Pasat, shortly after the first assault. Police determined Kore picked up the second girl as she left guitar practice, parked nearby and raped her.
“The defendant became a serial rapist in a matter of hours,” Jaramillo said. “The time it takes to watch a football game.”
Both girls described their attacker as a black man with dreadlocks or braids who spoke with an accent. They also noticed the word “Roni” tattooed on the right side of his neck, according to court documents.
Neither girl said they knew the man, though he called at least one of them by her first name.
“I can’t think of a much more egregious sexual assault,” Jaramillo said. “But we don’t have one, we have two … their innocence was taken from them.”
Investigators linked Kore to the crime using expedited DNA testing conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Kore has an extensive criminal record dating back five years, according to CBI records. In October 2013, he was sentenced to one year of probation for a domestic violence incident in which he was charged with multiple counts of assault. A slew of additional traffic and assault charges filed against Kore in 2016 were dismissed, records show.
A French interpreter accompanied Kore to nearly all of his court proceedings over the past 17 months even though he previously waived his need for an interpreter and a judge determined Kore was “able to understand (the) proceeding,” according to court notes.
Kore’s public defender, Elsa Archambault, indicated he plans to appeal his conviction.
Kore unexpectedly addressed the court at the conclusion of the hearing Feb. 27. He appeared at the hearing wearing a black suit with a gold tie while shackled at the wrists and ankles.
“I just want the court to give me mercy so I can be more productive in my life moving forward,” Kore said through a French interpreter.
District Attorney George Brauchler condemned Kore’s comments from the defense table.
“I never heard him ask for forgiveness,” Brauchler said. “I never heard him apologize. I heard him ask for mercy, which is way different from taking responsibility.”
Brauchler classified the case as one of the more heinous sexual assaults he’s encountered in 26 years of prosecuting in the state.
“In terms of aggravated sex assault cases in the state of Colorado, this has got to be in one percent of one percent of one percent,” he said. “I’ve just never seen anything like it.”
Brauchler commended the two victims who appeared but did not speak at the sentencing. Both women testified at trial.
“What must it be like to not only have to suffer through the crime itself but to then have to sit on the stand and look at 12 complete strangers and be questioned by someone who wants to make you look like a liar as you recount what happened to you at the hands of the guy at the table just a few feet from you?,” Brauchler said. “ … My hat’s off to them. If we didn’t have victims like that with the courage to do that, this guy’s hanging out at the mall with our kids.”
It took jurors 45 minutes to return a guilty verdict against Kore Dec. 10. The jury also placed a lunch order in that same window of time, prosecutors said.
Baum technically sentenced Kore to 12 years on the first count and six years on the second count, but ruled that the sentences should be served concurrently. Baum said he wrestled with the decision regarding whether the sentences should run concurrently or consecutively and total the 18-year sentence prosecutors had requested. The defense asked for Kore to be sentenced to community corrections.
Baum said he weighed Kore’s age, upbringing and comments to the court when making his decision, but ultimately determined that at least a dozen years in prison, the maximum penalty under state statute for a single count, was appropriate.
“I’m positive there is a piece of them that will always be missing because of what you did, Mr. Kore,” Baum said.
Because all sex offenses in Colorado carry indeterminate sentences, a state panel will evaluate Kore at the conclusion of his 12-year sentence to determine if he’s fit to be released. If he is not deemed suitable for release, he can theoretically be detained for the rest of his life. If he is released, he faces a minimum of 20 years on parole.
Kore has been held at the Arapahoe County Detention Center on a $1 million bond since October 2018. He’ll be credited with 499 days of time served for his time in pre-trial detention. He was remanded to the custody of the state Department of Corrections at the end of the hearing.