Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison

By Patrick Hoff

Hampshire County Courthouse (Collegian File Photo)
Hampshire County Courthouse
(Collegian File Photo)

NORTHAMPTON — Justin King, the second defendant in the 2012 gang rape of a former UMass student, was sentenced Monday to eight to 12 years in prison.

King, 21, of Pittsfield, was found guilty last week by a Hampshire Superior Court jury on the three counts of aggravated rape brought against him.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, the prosecutor for the case, was asking that King receive 10 to 12 years in prison for the first charge, in addition to five years of probation for each of the subsequent charges.

“Other than being killed, it’s hard to imagine a worse crime,” Suhl said, adding that, “the sentence must reflect the impact in the life of the victim.”

King’s defense requested four to six years in prison.

The judge, after deliberating for a few minutes, handed down an eight to 12 year prison sentence, as well as two sentences of five years probation to be served concurrently.

King will also be required to attend counseling, wear a GPS monitor, register as a sex offender and have no contact with the woman.

The judge, before handing down the sentence, said the woman was “in no way responsible” for the events of October 2012, but will carry the consequences for the rest of her life. Consequently, King was responsible, she said, and will be required to carry the consequences for his life as well. She said that the sentence reflected the lack of record King had, but also the injury he caused and the seriousness of his crime. The sentence was within sentencing guidelines for Massachusetts.

The woman, who testified last week at the trial, delivered an impact statement before the sentencing, during which she described some of the effects the rape have had on her life. She said, though, through her faith in God, she is able to forgive King.

King is the second of four men to be tried and found guilty for the rape. Emmanuel Bile, 21, of Pittsfield, was convicted in March of two out of three counts of aggravated rape that he faced. Bile is currently serving eight to 10 years in prison, but plans to appeal his conviction, as does King.

King, Bile and third defendant Adam Liccardi, 20, of Pittsfield, maintain that the sex with the woman was consensual. Caleb Womack, 20, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, the fourth defendant, denies having sex with the woman.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Hoff_Patrick16.