Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teenage rapist Jose Walle resentenced to 65 years in prison

TAMPA — Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe disagreed with a U.S. Supreme Court decision forcing him to resentence teenage rapist Jose Walle, who was only 13 when he terrorized two Apollo Beach waitresses at gunpoint.

But on Wednesday, he obeyed the high court, which deemed life sentences unconstitutional for juveniles who didn't kill.

Walle hung his head as Tharpe sentenced him to 65 years in prison, which he will begin to serve after completing the 27 years he got in Pinellas for another rape.

Taking into consideration credits prisoners get, the 16-year-old would be about 91 when he gets a chance at freedom.

The defense, which had asked for 27 years to run concurrent to the Pinellas sentence, plans to appeal. The Supreme Court ruling requires a meaningful opportunity for release.

Prosecutors said even a 75-year sentence would have guaranteed that, taking into consideration Walle's life expectancy and the multiple life felonies he committed. Assistant State Attorney Rita Peters argues that the ruling applies to each crime, not the cumulative years of the sentences for multiple crimes.

But Robert Batey, a criminal law professor at Stetson University College of Law, thinks the Supreme Court was most concerned about the total sentence in comparison to the juvenile's age. He believes the defense can make a good argument that Tharpe's sentence violates the ruling.

An appellate court may have to decide how consecutive sentences weigh into the math.

Tharpe adhered to the spirit of his original sentence, when he said he needed to protect the public from Walle, whom Tharpe was certain would one day kill.

"Jose Walle knew the difference between right and wrong," Tharpe said Wednesday. "He has forfeited his right to live in a free society."

Prosecutors said that on Aug. 16, 2008, Walle and two others attacked the women at the Docks restaurant, kidnapped them, and for four hours robbed and raped them.

It was the last in a string of sexual attacks that summer that also took place in St. Petersburg and Gibsonton.

Walle laughed during an interview with the state Department of Corrections and indicated he was willing to kill anyone who messed with him, prosecutors said.

To his victims, he was "the mean one."

The women held each other as the judge announced his sentence. In March, they stood in the same courtroom and told the judge they still can't sleep through the night. Walle said he was going to kill them, and they believed him.

This time, they didn't need to say anything. Tharpe remembered.

He listened to a defense psychiatrist talk about how Walle's brain wasn't fully developed at 13, how drugs and puberty impaired his decisionmaking, how he needs a mentor and has never had the opportunity to play board games.

Tharpe listened to attorneys reiterate the high court's opinion that a life sentence without parole at such a young age is "cruel and unusual punishment."

Then, he spoke.

"Let me start out by saying, what's wrong with this picture? Shouldn't our focus be first and foremost on the welfare of the victims? Is it not cruel and unusual punishment for the victims to have endured the rage, the brutality, the terror that your client exacted upon them?

"What about the fact that these ladies have to live the rest of their lives worrying about whether or not they will become a victim again of another person like Jose Walle …

"Isn't that cruel and unusual punishment?"

He said the juvenile system sends kids the wrong message. He said the right message to send is that grave crimes bring about grave punishments, regardless of age.

"Why don't we focus our money and our resources and our time on fixing the problems as opposed to trying to coddle a Jose Walle?"

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Teenage rapist Jose Walle resentenced to 65 years in prison 11/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.