Saturday, May 21, 2011

15 year old boy handed 15 life sentences in rapes - sentence modified to 65 years

(Original Post 3-14-10) A 15 year old boy was sentenced to 15 life terms Wednesday, March 10 for raping and kidnapping two Apollo Beach restaraunt workers. Jose Walle, 13 when he attacked the woman, entered a blind plea to 19 felony counts last month.

The women were abducted from the Apollo Beach restaurant Aug. 15, 2008, held for several hours and repeatedly sexually assaulted before being dumped along Interstate 75. One said Walle got in the back seat of her truck, pointed a gun at her and raped her.

One of the victims said in her impact statement, "There was no doubt in my mind that he would kill us. He chose to rob us. He chose to abduct us. He was the one who raped me." The other victim said that "I think he should be shown the same mercy he showed us - none."

Walle's parents, friends, soccer coach and attorney, as well as a psychiatrist hired by the defense, portrayed him as a youth soccer star who got caught up in drugs and came under the sway of bad influences - co-defendants Rigoberto Martinez, 22, and Vincente Reyes-Carbajal, 21, who are awaiting trial.

Walle's explanation of his attack on the women was "I was angry. I was on drugs."

But Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters said Walle laughed and smiled his way through a presentence interview with a state corrections official. Walle told the official, "I'm a nice guy, but if you mess with me I have no problems killing you," Peters quoted from the report.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe used those statements to justify his 15 life sentences. This is one of the most disturbing cases I have ever come across...If he is not stopped, he is going to do it again. And, quite frankly, I'm not willing to take that chance. It is my intention that you never ever walk the streets of our community again as a free man. He's going to kill; it's just a matter of time."

Walle's life sentences will be served concurrently to one another and consexutively with a 27 year sentence handed down for the rape of a third woman. Two other Florida youths have been jailed for life without parole terms for non-murder crimes committed at 13.

(Update 5-21-11) After a 2010 US Supreme Court ruling stating that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for crimes other than murder, Judge Tharpe resentenced Walle to 65 years imprisonment on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Judge Tharpe said at Walle's second sentencing, "Jose Walle knew the difference between right and wrong. He has forfeited his right to live in a free society."

After listening to both sides re-present arguments made during the first sentencing, Judge Tharpe said to the defense, "Let me start out by saying, what's wrong with this picture? Shouldn't our focus be first and foremost on the welfare of the victims? Is it not cruel and unusual punishment for the victims to have endured the rage, the brutality, the terror that your client exacted upon them? What about the fact that these ladies have to live the rest of their lives worrying about whether or not they will become a victim again of another person like Jose Walle …Isn't that cruel and unusual punishment?"

Tharpe also gave the opinon that the juvenile justice system does not give enough accountability to youths convicted of serious crimes and that "grave crimes bring grave sentences.""Why don't we focus our money and our resources and our time on fixing the problems as opposed to trying to coddle a Jose Walle?"

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