Monday 11 November 2019

La. judge suggests letting rapist pay for lesser sentence, victim refuses

 A Louisiana rape victim said she won't accept a judge's offer to reduce her assailant's sentence if the man pays her $150,000, adding that she doesn't want any amount of money from her attacker.

"I don't think money is going to provide any restitution for what he's done," the 31-year-old woman said Thursday after a court hearing. She was 15 when she was raped.
State District Judge Bruce Bennett had just sentenced Sedrick Hills, 44, to 12 years in prison when he made the offer to reduce the time if the woman agreed to cash restitution. The Advocate reported the suggestion took prosecutors and the defense by surprise.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office did not seek the compensation arrangement and that the proposition was the judge's.
Hills' attorney, Robert Tucker, said Thursday was the first he had heard of the offer. He would not comment further.

Hills was convicted last year of raping the woman in 2003. She had read her impact statement in court, saying Hills took at least 16 years of her life. She asked the judge to take the same from him.

"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."
Thursday's sentencing ended months of delays in the case prompted by a black female juror's allegation that a white male juror made racist remarks about Hills, who is black. Bennett ruled last month that the juror's allegation was not corroborated by other jurors, each of whom had testified at a hearing ordered by a state appeals court. The judge refused to grant Hills a new trial.

Hills was formally charged in 2014 after DNA evidence linked him to the sexual assault, Bennett said. He was convicted in August 2018 of forcible rape and another sexual assault-related charge

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