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Man gets 12 life sentences for rape of 9 year old

Man gets 12 life sentences for rape of 9 year old

A Barboursville man was sentenced Tuesday to 12 life sentences for raping a minor across a month and a half in 2019.

Armando Vega Jr., 42, in May in Greene County Circuit Court pleaded guilty to 12 counts of raping a minor less than 13 years old. The victim was 9 years old at the time of the assaults.

The victim’s mother testified that in addition to the psychological scars for the family, they have been negatively impacted financially. She has had to change jobs and move the family in with her parents.

When Greene County Commonwealth’s Attorney Edwin Consolvo asked the witness how the rapes have impacted her daughter and herself, she responded through tears: “The pain has been great. Every day I wake up and wonder how I missed what was happening. At times, the pain has been so great that I didn’t want to be here. If it wasn’t for my best friend sitting with me I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

The mother said her daughter won’t let people hug her and flinches from touch. She said sometimes she’s gets angry. She said the pair has worked to repair the relationship between them as the victim lost trust in her mother.

“She thought I knew about what was happening to her,” the mother testified. “It took a long time for her to trust me and that hurts, as well. This will not be the end of us. He tried to kill her spirit, but he made her stronger; he made both of us stronger.”

In cross examination, defense attorney Michael Hallahan asked the witness if she was aware of a handwritten letter by Vega.

“Yes, he was confessing to raping my daughter,” the witness said.

“Did he apologize?” Hallahan asked the witness.

“No, he blamed my daughter for the crime,” she replied.

Consolvo told the court that it’s not only the facts of the case, but how Vega described what happened.

“Mr. Vega is not accepting responsibility,” Consolvo said. “Regarding of the plea and regardless of some statements he has made (including), ‘well, I asked her if she wanted to keep doing it and she said it was up to me’ and ‘our sinful behaviors.’ This was an 8-9 year old child. He did not say, ‘I’m an evil individual who raped a 9-year-old … but (instead) ‘the only reason this is illegal is because she was a child’ is how it reads.”

Consolvo argued for a life sentence for each of the 12 counts.

“He has accepted responsibility … and is remorseful,” Hallahan said. “First-degree murder carries a sentence of 20 (years) to life. I would argue that most people think there is no worse crime than first-degree murder. I would argue that anything less than murder should be sentenced less than murder.”

Consolvo disagreed.

“I disagree murder is worse than this. Murder is a horrific crime, but he has altered her life forever,” Consolvo said.

Judge Hon. Claude D. Worrell II asked whether Vega had anything to say.

“I’m sorry. There’s no excuse for my behavior; there’s no excuse for any type of sin whatsoever,” Vega said. “I was consumed with depression. I’m not going to say the devil made me do it. We’re all responsible for our own actions.”

Vega told the court he has found Jesus in jail.

“I know I have to atone for my sins while on Earth,” he said. “Do I deserve to spend my life in prison? I’ve asked myself that question so many times. I’ve prayed for God to show mercy. I’ve prayed for God to put on your heart to show me mercy. I know I stole her childhood. I do pray she forgives me. I ask you to show me mercy.”

Judge Worrell said pleading guilty without asking for a reduced sentence shows “some measure” of taking responsibility.

“On balance I cannot find that you have accepted responsibility,” Judge Worrell told Vega, citing Vega’s statement that the victim “asked for it.” Judge Worrell said such statements effectively says “the child is complicit in her own sexual assault. … What happened to this child … she has already received a life sentence. It can’t ever be undone. It can never be unwound.”

In case Vega is ever released from prison, Judge Worrell also required good behavior and supervised probation for life and mental health and substance abuse evaluations. He also ordered no contact with the victim or the victim’s mother.

Worrell suspended six of the 12 life sentences but made the other six consecutive.

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Editor, Greene County Record

Terry Beigie is the Editor of the Greene County Record in Stanardsville. She can be reached at tbeigie@greene-news.com or (434) 985-2315.

Related to this story

The trial date for a Barboursville man charged with allegedly raping a minor was moved Monday to January 2021 in Greene County Circuit Court. 

There have been no jury trials in Greene County for almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s about to change.

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