How was Kevin Jordan, a convicted serial rapist, out of prison?

by: Kristin Leigh Updated:

Several FOX13 viewers asked why Kevin Jordan was a free man, after the convicted serial rapist was killed in a freak traffic accident earlier this week.

We learned serial rapists can be sentenced to life in prison without parole today, but that wasn’t the case in the early 1990s, when Jordan was sentenced.

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FOX13 talked to the man who prosecuted the case. Shelby County Judge Chris Craft helped convict Jordan, who was known as the “Highland Street Rapist,” in 1994.

“I just remember he was the scariest guy that I had ever prosecuted at the time,” Judge Craft said.

The phone booth at Breedlove Street and Vollintine Avenue where Kevin Jordan kidnapped and raped one of his many victims is gone. This case is two decades old after all, but Craft remembered the dangerous repeat offender well.

“Kevin was a sexual predator. And for sexual predators, there’s just no cure for them,” Craft said.

In 1994, Jordan pled guilty to 20 felonies, including nine rapes, one attempted rape, four robberies and three burglaries, according to the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

“He would dress up in a suit, and look like a real clean gentleman,” Craft said. “He would find some elderly women or sometimes young women in a grocery store and say, "Hey, ma'am. Can I help you with your groceries?"

Judge Craft, who was a prosecutor in the early 90s, told FOX13 Jordan would follow women home from stores on Highland between Summer Ave and Park Ave to get their addresses.

“And then he would come back four or five days later, beat and rape them,” Craft said.

Wednesday night, Kevin Jordan was killed on the 3700 block of Park Ave, about a half mile away from where he used to terrorize women.

He returned to Memphis after being released from the Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in 2010, according to court records.

As a prosecutor, Craft said he knew Jordan wouldn’t be behind bars for longer than 20 years, but he told FOX13 the public is better protected now by a law that allows prosecutors to put serial rapists in prison for life without parole.

“At the time, we didn’t have 100 percent crimes,” Craft said. “Now, if someone commits an aggravated rape, there is no parole. Back then, there was parole.”

He said the law now allows for repeat sexual offenders to be kept behind bars for life.

“If you have committed aggravated rape, and you go to prison, and you come out, and then commit another one you can be sentenced to life without parole,” Craft said.

“The vast amount [of criminals] that are paroled will never come back and are rehabilitated,” Craft added. “But there’s always those that aren’t. And with sexual offenders, it’s really hard for some of them to change their ways.”