Marvin Sherwood

Marvin Sherwood, 29, of Vineland

N.J. Department of Corrections photo

MAYS LANDING — Marvin Sherwood will be 70 when he’s eligible for parole — almost 20 years younger than the Somers Point woman he was convicted of brutally raping in 2010.

Sherwood, 29, of Vineland, was sentenced to 57 years in prison for the Aug. 3, 2010, assault that ended with the battered woman left in her bathtub for hours until her son found her. Parole requirements and time already served means he must serve about 40 years and five months before he is eligible for parole.

The woman — who has not been publicly identified due to the nature of the charges — testified at Sherwood’s trial in March that she was awoken by a noise at about 1:30 that morning and found a man in her home. She said she told the man to leave.

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“He immediately socked her,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Pam D’Arcy told the judge Wednesday. “Those were her exact words.”

The victim did not attend court for the sentencing, but she was wheeled in that day in March to face the defendant and told what she remembered of an attack that she said included a sexual assault that caused her to cry out in pain.

“She demonstrated a strength and courage rare in someone years younger,” Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury said of the victim before imposing Sherwood’s sentence. “It took extraordinary resilience to face him. But face him she did.”

A jury took just three hours in March to find Sherwood guilty on all charges, including three counts of aggravated sexual assault.

The crime likely would have been a homicide if not for the victim’s inner strength, her son said in addressing the court.

The 71-year-old man found his mother in the tub at about 5:30 the morning of the attack. She was too weak and in too much pain to get out.

“He inflicted all of this pain on a suffering, helpless old lady for a lousy 20 bucks,” the man said.

He described his mother, now 91, as someone who drew people to her and increased business wherever she worked.

“She was what you’d call personality plus,” he said. “When she walked into a room, it’s like opening a window on a brisk fall day and letting the fresh air in.”

The victim’s son stood surrounded by other family members as he spoke of his mother, who had moved to Somers Point at his urging after he worried about her being widowed and so far away in Philadelphia. Still independent and working as a volunteer at Shore Medical Center, she had been happy until the day Sherwood entered her home.

But Sherwood said he was not the man who brutalized her. Instead, he stuck to the testimony he told at trial, when he claimed another man was with him that night. Sherwood had testified that the victim was unharmed when he left her and Justin Street alone that morning. The Essex County man died last year when he had silicone injected in his genitals.

“You may send me to prison, but it does not alter the fact that I’m innocent,” Sherwood said, reading from a handwritten statement that rambled at times.

He blamed the police, the prosecutor and even the media for his conviction, likening it to a Greek tragedy.

Sherwood said he will appeal.

DeLury called Sherwood a career criminal whose record dates to when he was 15. He was arrested 12 times as a juvenile and has three felony convictions as an adult.

“He is a very dangerous person,” the judge said. “He needs to be taken away from society for a long time.”

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