Cody Arnett, guilty in 2018 rape of Georgetown College student, sentenced to life in prison

cody arnett sentencing.jpg
Posted at 11:18 AM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 17:44:55-05

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Cody Arnett, who was found guilty in the 2018 rape of a Georgetown College student, was sentenced to life in prison Monday morning.

Arnett will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years of his life sentence, and a parole board will decide whether he should be released or serve the full sentence.

On the night of Sept. 23, 2018, Ava Stokes, then an 18-year-old Georgetown College freshman, told police she was held at knife-point and raped multiple times by a stranger who wandered in through the unlocked door of her student housing unit.

Stokes was at Arnett's sentencing Monday morning, and she took the stand to address her attacker directly.

"You don't deserve forgiveness," Stokes said. "You don't deserve anything but hatred and disgust thrown your way. I will never be able to forget what you did to me that night."

Arnett took the stand in his own defense during his July 2021 trial, saying he had consensual sex with the victim. That contradicts what she described during her emotional testimony.

He was found guilty on three counts of rape, one count of burglary, two counts of sodomy and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

On Monday before handing Arnett a life sentence, Judge Jeremy Mattox said he could not legally give Arnett multiple life sentences as the jury had recommended.

"It's my hope this jury's sentence is carried out you don't get parole, and that you do take your last breath inside a detention facility," Mattox said during the hearing.

Stokes had these parting words for Arnett as she spoke during his sentencing hearing.

"You didn't know me and decided to break into my home and rape me," Stokes said. "But you know me now and I hope it keeps you up at night."

After Arnett was convicted this summer, Stokes came forward with her full story, saying she was ready for her voice to be heard. She said that she wants to show other survivors of sexual assault that they should be proud of the fact they survived.

In September, Stokes filed a lawsuit against Georgetown College. She alleges lack of support and failure to provide security that would’ve prevented the attack.

The lawsuit calls for a jury trial and for Stokes to be awarded compensatory and punitive damages.