Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado Springs man facing re-trial instead pleads guilty in 2010 rape, beating

By Lance Benzel Published: May 7, 2013

A Colorado Springs man could get life in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday in the August 2010 rape and beating of a then-girlfriend.

Ryan Michael Cantor, 29, took a plea deal as jury selection was under way for a re-trial in the attack, which involved cigarette burns, pistol whipping and mock executions. Prosecutors say Cantor used the woman's cell phone to record audio of the two-hour ordeal as a way of humiliating her.

After pleading guilty to sexual assault with the use of a deadly weapon, Cantor faces an indeterminate sentence at his Aug. 19 sentencing ? meaning he can be held until prisons officials deem him safe for the community. Such sentences are presumed to be life sentences in the case of violent rapes, authorities say.

Even without the indeterminate sentence, Cantor's penalty could stretch into the triple digits ? the effect of sentence-enhancers and prior convictions.

The four-time felon was previously sentenced to 36 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to escape, and he has yet to be sentenced on a slew of convictions handed up by a jury after a partial mistrial in December.

That jury failed to reach unanimous verdicts on all counts, and prosecutors were preparing to take Cantor to trial again beginning Tuesday.

According to the allegations in the rape case, the woman was held at gunpoint in the passenger seat of Cantor's car for more than two hours. She was repeatedly beaten with a gun and twice burned with a cigarette before she was made to perform oral sex.

The audio recording captured the sounds of Cantor dry-firing a pistol at the woman's head as he sang a profane version of 'Eenie Meenie Miney Moe. ' He can be also be heard cautioning her to remain silent in the passenger seat as he ordered mozzarella sticks and a lime-flavored drink from a fast-food restaurant.

'I spent 30 years in the Navy, and I've seen all sorts of stuff, ' juror John Priester of Colorado Springs told The Gazette after the trial. 'But that tape just ripped me up. '

Cantor had walked away from a halfway house and was considered a fugitive at the time of the assault, leading to an escape charge to which he pleaded guilty before the trial in December.

Lead prosecutor Sharon Flaherty said the victim supported the plea agreement in what Flaherty called a 'very violent and disturbing case. '

'We're just happy that there's justice for her, ' said prosecutor Jennifer Darby.

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Contact Lance Benzel: 636-0366 Twitter @lancebenzel

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