TAMPA — After three years, Friday had finally come.
This would be the last time they would have to look at him, or at any of the three men who kidnapped and brutally raped them in 2008 in a series of attacks that crossed Tampa Bay.
Vicente Reyes-Carbajal, 23, the last remaining defendant in the assaults on two Apollo Beach women, stood before a judge.
His attorney asked for 16 years. The judge sentenced Reyes-Carbajal to a half-century in prison, the maximum allowed under terms of a plea deal.
"The brutality of your crimes shocked the conscience and shocked the community," said Circuit Judge Emmett Lamar Battles
On Aug. 16, 2008, Jose Walle, then 13, Rigoberto Moron Martinez, then 20, and Reyes-Carbajal kidnapped two women from the Docks Bar & Grill in Apollo Beach.
Deputies say the three men covered the women's mouths with duct tape and drove them to a remote dirt road, where the rapes began. Then they took them to a Bank of America ATM, to a gas station and, finally, to a field, where the assaults continued.
While the other two took turns raping the women, Walle held a gun to their heads. They thought they were going to die.
Reyes-Carbajal left halfway through the assaults, but he didn't go to get help, said Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters.
"He left them to be brutalized by the two others," she said at Friday's hearing.
He had pleaded guilty to armed kidnapping, robbery and carjacking. Prosecutors dropped the rape charge in a deal that capped his sentence at 50 years in prison.
The defense argued Reyes-Carbajal's drug use since age 9 contributed to his delinquency and that he needed treatment.
He had sniffed glue and gasoline, he had told a psychiatrist. Then after getting treatment at a hospital in his native Mexico, he moved to the United States, where he soon turned to cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills.
"It's not our fault what he did as a child," one of his victims said at the sentencing hearing. "What is important is what he did to us. Our lives will never be the same."
Walle was sentenced to 65 years in prison for the Apollo Beach rapes and 27 years for his role in a robbery and rape that summer at the Table restaurant in St. Petersburg. Martinez got multiple life sentences for the rapes.
The only one left was Reyes-Carbajal, and to avoid another trial, the victims agreed with the plea offer, said Peters, chief of Hillsborough's sex crimes division.
"We agreed to the offer," one of the women told the judge. "We don't agree that it's enough."
Through a Spanish interpreter, Reyes-Carbajal said he repents for everything he did that night.
"I wouldn't like that to happen to my family," he said, looking down.
After listening to an hour and a half of testimony, the judge commended the victims for their strength and courage.
Then he sentenced Reyes-Carbajal to the maximum.
"You got the only break you're going to get in the case when the state agreed to cap your case at 50 years," he told the defendant.
Tears streamed down the women's faces as the judge spoke. Outside the courtroom, they hugged Peters, the attorney who had fought for them for three years, pursuing all three defendants.
"Remember when it was one down, two to go?" one victim asked Peters. "That seems like so long ago."
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or email@example.com.