Man who dropped cellphone convicted in New Smyrna Beach rape case

Willie James to be sentenced Dec. 5

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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - A man faces up to life in prison after jurors in Volusia County found him guilty of raping a woman who had hired him to mow her lawn.

It took about four hours Thursday for jurors to convict 50-year-old Willie James Henderson. He will be sentenced Dec. 5.

Prosecutors say Henderson dropped his cell phone in the 42-year-old woman's New Smyrna Beach house. When police arrested him, he still had blood on his shirt.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the woman paid Henderson $20 to mow her yard in April 2012. Several days later, she answered her door slightly after hearing a knock and Henderson pushed it open, punched her and sexually assaulted her.

Authorities say she got him to leave by promising not to call police.

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