HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A 20-year-old will spend at least 19 years in a state penitentiary for a rape in 2017 the judge described as “more heinous than some of those cases that also resulted in a death.”
Jose Figueroa, Jr., will serve up to 40 years of imprisonment in a state penitentiary and will not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 19 years of that sentence.
Officials say in March, a jury convicted Figueroa of rape, criminal conspiracy, robbery and related charges. As he imposed the aggravated range sentence, Judge Scott Arthur Evans indicated that, given the defendant’s “violent propensities and his anti-social propensities, Figueroa does not appear to be an individual who can be remedied by rehabilitation”.
Judge Evans said that, during his 26 years on the bench and during his prior career as a criminal defense attorney, this case was the “most heinous” rape of an adult woman he had seen outside of cases that resulted in homicide.
Judge Evans noted that this rape was “more heinous than some of those cases that also resulted in a death.”
JayQuan Watson was also involved and entered an open guilty plea to all charges and is awaiting sentencing.
The 26-year old victim said on the evening of March 8, 2017, she had agreed to give a ride to an acquaintance and his friend. Once they were in her vehicle, she said they demanded money, forced her to perform sexual acts on them at gunpoint, then pistol-whipped her.
During the sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle indicated that the victim did not wish to be present at sentencing. “The impact has been tremendous on her—her written statement implored the Court: “Please give those monsters no chance for a normal life just as they did to me.’”
At the sentencing hearing, the CDDA Gettle cited the defendant’s extensive list of misconducts at the prison—“his violent conduct the night of the rape; his behavior in the courtroom; and his institutional behavior indicate he is an offender who should receive the maximum sentence.”
Figueroa still faces additional charges for aggravated harassment by a prisoner for his conduct in the courtroom after closing arguments in the case. After the jury was removed from the courtroom, the defendant threatened the victim and spit on her boyfriend.
A fight broke out in the courtroom with family members also becoming involved. Several deputy sheriffs were injured during the ensuing melee.