Victor Peña, the man found guilty last week of kidnapping and raping a woman he held captive in his Boston apartment over three days in January of 2019, was sentenced Monday to 29 to 39 years in prison.
A jury in Suffolk Superior Court returned the verdict last Tuesday, convicting him on all 10 charges of aggravated rape and one of kidnapping after deliberating for about two hours.
Judge Anthony Campo sentenced Peña to 8 to 12 years on the kidnapping charge and the first three rape charges, 10 to 13 years on three other rape charges and 11 to 14 years on the final four rape charges.
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Each sentence is scheduled to be served upon the completion of the previous one, meaning he could spend up to 39 years at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.
Peña's sentencing began at 9 a.m. Monday. He was not in the courtroom but listened in a separate room via a video feed. This was the case throughout the trial after he committed a lewd act during jury selection.
The victim in the case had told the jury she remembered waking up naked in an unfamiliar apartment after going out in Boston the night before, then being repeatedly sexually assaulted.
The victim was in the courtroom on Monday, but did not address the court during sentencing. She submitted a powerful written victim impact statement, however, outlining how the horrifying incident has changed her.
"There are no words to describe how this has impacted me," she wrote. "How am I supposed to articulate something that has completely turned my world upside down? When I think about how this affected me, I think about how I never fully came back from those days. A part of me died in that apartment and I mourn for the life I could have lived-was supposed to live."
You can read the victim's full statement below:
Prosecutors argued Monday that Peña does not deserve leniency given how dangerous he is and that he has shown no interest in seeking help.
“This case was everyone’s worst nightmare… the problem isn’t the defense, it’s the defendant," the assistant district attorney said, adding that Peña “might be the most deliberately difficult defendant this court has ever seen.”
“Why are we asking for a murder type sentence? Because a kidnapping and rape episode like this really does murder a person.”
Defense attorneys expressed concern about Peña being mentally ill and incarcerated. During the trial, they wanted him to be found not guilty by lack of criminal responsibility, which would have put him in a mental hospital. The defense also asked for mental health evaluations and follow ups to be part of his treatment.
Peña, 42, had testified in his defense shortly before the trial closed, a surprise twist after he'd declined to take the stand earlier in the case. It was the one part of the trial when he was present in the courtroom — he watched the rest of the proceedings, including the verdict being read, from another room after making outbursts early in the prcess.
He had testified that the woman approached him and insisted on going home with him. What prosecutors described of three days of hell for the woman at the man's Charlestown apartment he said was consensual, and referred to the victim as an angel.
"We don't know what exactly what was in his head, obviously, but he certainly saw an opportunity to take advantage of somebody and took it," Assistant District Attorney Ian Polumbaum said after the hearing ended.
The woman, whom NBC10 Boston is not naming because she is a victim of a sexual assault, was abducted after leaving Hennessy's, a bar near Faneuil Hall. She was later seen on surveillance video in Charlestown, where she was eventually found by police at an apartment complex.
"She was brave, she was articulate and she gave the jury the evidence they needed to bring about this conviction," District Attorney Kevin Hayden said.
Earlier, as lawyers made their closing arguments, the defense had asked the jury to find Peña not guilty by lack of criminal responsibility, "because of a mental defect." Later, the prosecution argued Peña knew what he was doing, calling him unusual and twisted, but not crazy in a legal sense.