A judge in Louisiana is being harshly criticized after suggesting that a convicted rapist be allowed to pay their way out of jail early if they threw their victim some cash.
But the victim isn’t having it.
CBS 4 reported that State District Judge Bruce Bennett sentenced 44-year-old Sedrick Hills to 12 years behind bars after a jury found him guilty of forcible rape and another sexual assault-related charge against a Louisiana woman.
But then he offered a proposition.
If Hills was willing to pay the victim $150,000 — he would reduce his prison sentence.
The shocking offer took everyone by surprise.
Hills was convicted of committing the heinous sexual crime back in 2003, and was formally charged in 2014 after DNA evidence pointed to him as the assailant.
The woman he was convicted of raping says there’s no way any amount of money could make up for the impact the event has had on her life.
“I don’t think money is going to provide any restitution for what he’s done,” said Hills’ 31-year-old victim.
She was only 15-years-old when she was raped, CBS’s report went on to say. Her statement to the court had said that Hills had stolen the last 16 years from her.
“This whole experience has been like a movie, but a bad movie, a horror movie,” she said. “I’ve been fighting this over half my life. I’m tired. I’m angry. Stuff like this deteriorates a person. It deteriorates who I am. I’m still trying to figure out who I am.”
Even the defendant’s attorney was taken by surprise, with Robert Tucker saying that Thursday’s announcement was the first he had heard of the deal.
The emotional case had faced a number of delays after a juror claimed that a white juror had made racist comments about Hills, who is black. But those allegations were eventually said to be unfounded and uncorroborated by other jurors who were present.
The woman, now 31, was 15 years old when Sedrick Hills, 45, raped her.https://t.co/9Sp56i2Klc
— Jade Walker (@jadewalker) November 11, 2019
The judge declared that there was no mistrial and denied Hills a new trial.
A few weeks ago, LET reported about another convicted rapist that was going to be released from jail early.
Brian Rainwater avoided detection for years after police discovered a woman brutally raped and murdered inside of her California apartment. But after finally being caught and spending the last 10 years behind bars, he’s about to be a free man.
According to ABC 10, Rainwater was convicted in 2009 for the murder of 36-year-old Jackie Cassettari and was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison.
For the last 10 years, he’s been in a correctional facility in California. But at the end of October, the Cassettaris received news that their daughter’s murderer would be getting out of prison five years earlier than expected.
Officials have said that part of the reason for Rainwater’s early release stems from a state statute aimed at reducing prison populations, besides the inmate displaying good behavior and taking college classes while he’s been locked up.
Proposition 57, a controversial mandate in California, allows inmates to have their non-violent felonies reduced to misdemeanors.
In Rainwater’s case, it paid off big time for his lesser charges like receiving stolen property, reducing them to minor offenses and ultimately allowing him to look like a more “reformed” prisoner.
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The family is in shock over the news that he would be released after only serving 10 years.
And he’ll be rejoining the very same community where many of the victim’s family members still live.
“I don’t think that our family should have to suffer that. We’ve already suffered enough. Why should we have to suffer by seeing him daily?”said Jackie’s cousin, Steffanie Cruser.
Cruser said that Rainwater robbed her cousin of her life, and he shouldn’t be rewarded.
“She didn’t even get to be a mother. She didn’t get to do a lot of things in life. She wanted to travel, she wanted to have a family, she wanted to grow old and just enjoy and love life [as] she did and she doesn’t get to do that. So, I don’t think he deserves to get to do that. It’s not fair,” said Cruser.
She criticized prop 57, saying that being in prison has provided the convicted killer with benefits that regular Americans don’t get without paying a hefty price tag.
“It doesn’t make sense, while I would have to go into debt to get an education that he just got for free. But I didn’t murder anybody, but he did. And I didn’t rape someone, but he did. So, it’s just failed, the justice system has definitely failed,” she said.
“I’m angry, I’m upset and I fear for my family out there.” Brian Rainwater was sentenced to 15 years in prison 10 years ago for the death of 36-year-old Jackie Cassettari. Now, with 5 years left in his sentence, Jackie’s family learned last week that he’s getting out early in November, set to be released back into the city of Tracy. Here’s what Jackie’s cousin Steffanie Cruser told me about this today: ABC10
Posted by Lena Howland on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
She described the horrific scene of the 2005 murder.
“There was just blood everywhere because she fought for her life,” Cruser said. “She was strangled, she was beaten so badly she had cuts all over her body, her wrists were slit and she was sexually assaulted.”
After a search warrant, investigators discovered Cassettari’s cell phone, credit cards, and underwear tucked away inside Rainwater’s garage. He’s been incarcerated since 2009, but was scheduled to be released on November 7, 2019.
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