Florida Keys

Key West man gets 30 years for raping woman on his boat. But that’s not all.


A Key West man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in state prison for sexually assaulting a woman on his boat in 2017 and also for possession of child pornography.

Jeffrey Ray Sundwall, 47, avoided a trial and instead took a plea deal that means he could leave prison a few years early because of the state’s policy on serving time with good behavior.

The victim told police that Sundwall, who had invited her to his boat on March 6, 2017, choked her until she was unconscious.

She awoke to him raping her and he tormented her for hours on his 34-foot cabin trawler named Today, where he lived, according to police. She begged for her life and Sundwall told her if she struggled she would die.

Assistant State Attorney Colleen Dunne said the woman agreed with the plea deal.

Sundwall was initially arrested for attempted murder and sexual assault with a weapon but pleaded no contest to sexual battery and 20 counts of having child porn. The plea counts as a conviction.

Sundwall was allowed to plead to the lesser crime of sexual battery. If convicted as charged, he would have no chance of leaving prison.

“He’s looking at mandatory life,” Dunne said before Sundwall accepted the deal.

At his sentencing hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse, Sundwall, shackled from his wrists to his ankles and wearing a blue jail-issued uniform, said he didn’t want to make a statement when asked by Judge Mark Jones whether he had anything to tell the court.

Jones said he could understand Sundwall’s silence.

“These crimes are atrocious,” Jones said from the bench. “They speak for themselves. Obviously, you’re a very sick man in the broadest sense of the word.”

Sundwall must serve every day of a 15-year sentence for the sexual battery. He also received a 15-year sentence for the child porn charge, for which he may earn “gain time,” which means the state Department of Corrections can shave time off a prison term for good behavior, his lawyers said.

“It works out to 27 years and change,” said Kevin McCarthy, Sundwall’s public defender.

Jones told Sundwall the court isn’t promising him the gain time.

Sundwall was also sentenced to five years for possession of cocaine and another five for tampering with evidence. He will serve those terms concurrently with the rest of his time. Sundwall hasn’t left jail since his arrest on May 6, 2017, and will receive credit for time served.