It was a long Monday for Felix Kauffman. The man accused of bringing terror to South Tyler as a serial rapist for almost three years changed his plea this morning from not guilty to guilty on all counts.
"We had DNA evidence," Chief Federal Prosecutor Matt Bingham said, "We had confessions in every case, we were ready to go to trial. I can only speculate that he changed his plea because the evidence was overwhelming against him."
Kauffman pled guilty Monday to three charges of aggravated sexual assault and six counts of burglary with intent to commit sexual assault. For over an hour, each of the nine felonies were discussed individually.
"We will plead on each one separately," explains Bingham, "and ask the court to accumulate the sentences so he's never back in public again, there's no one he can victimize again."
Kauffman faces up to life on each charge, and the sexual assaults could send him away for 90 years before any chance of parole. A crowd of Kauffman's victims filled the courtroom, waiting for justice for the man who terrorized Tyler from March 2000 until his capture last February.
"They have endured something that, unless you've been through this you can't imagine," Bingham says. "All these victims out here can have closure in the case as much as possible, and not worry about being victimized by him again. And no one else has to worry about it."
The punishment phase will begin in mid-October, with every victim getting a chance to tell the court what Kauffman took from them, physically and emotionally.
"They'll have their day in court," Bingham says. "And he never gets out of the penitentiary as a live person ever. He can never victimize anyone again. That's our goal."