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Man who raped at 13 in Apollo Beach re-sentenced to 60 years

TAMPA — He helped abduct them. He raped them. He wanted to kill them.

He was just 13.

The boy whom a judge once described as a predator without a conscience is now a 22-year-old man. On Friday, that man stood before another judge and offered a terse apology for his role in the brutal rapes of two women in 2008 in Apollo Beach.

"Every minute of the last nine years, I've regretted the crime I committed when I was 13 years old," Jose Walle said.

Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez said she gave some consideration to Walle's youth. But she could not ignore the brutality of what he had done. "It wasn't something I would consider to be an impetuous act," Fernandez said.

She sentenced him to 60 years in prison. It was slightly less than the 65 years he had previously been serving, a penalty prosecutors had sought to renew.

It was the third time Walle had been sentenced for what Assistant State Attorney Michelle Doherty described as "one of the most horrific and egregious" crimes to have ever occurred in Hillsborough County.

Walle was eligible for a new sentence courtesy of a series of recent U.S. and Florida Supreme Court cases, which held that it is unconstitutional to give lengthy punishments to defendants who were juveniles when they committed crimes.

On Aug. 16, 2008, Walle along with Rigoberto Martinez, then 22, and Vicente Reyes-Carbajal, then 23, attacked the two waitresses outside the Docks restaurant in Apollo Beach. They forced the women into a truck, then drove throughout south Hillsborough, and for four hours, repeatedly raped them.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Teenage rapist Jose Walle resentenced to 65 years in prison

The victims remembered Walle as "the meanest one" and the most violent, Doherty said. They remembered overhearing him saying that he wanted to kill them. One of the older men talked him out of it.

The women were later forced to jump out of the truck on Interstate 75.

The crime was the last in a string of sexual attacks that occurred that summer. Just 13 days earlier, the group had robbed a St. Petersburg restaurant and raped one of the employees. For his role in that crime, Walle is serving a 27-year sentence.

In Hillsborough, he first got life. That was in 2010, before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down juvenile life sentences.

Later the same year, Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe sentenced him again, to 65 years on top of the Pinellas sentence. It meant Walle would be in his 90's before he could have a chance of release.

But further high court rulings led that sentence to be overturned.

On Friday, Walle stood, quiet and impassive, throughout the hour-long sentencing hearing.

The women were there. One was, nine years later, still too traumatized to speak. The other, spoke for them both.

"(We) have a lifetime sentence that we will never get out of," she said. "We are scared every day. We will never get a chance at parole. It will forever affect our lives."

Walle's lawyer, Aaryn Urell of the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative, detailed Walle's troubled adolescence. By age 13 he had used a variety of drugs, which fueled a turbulent relationship with his parents. He ended up leaving home, living on the streets, before falling in with Martinez and Reyes-Carbajal.

Urell emphasized the influence the men had on the impressionable teen.

She asked for a new sentence in the range of 27 years, citing research showing that was the average length of time other juveniles had served for similarly serious crimes.

But Doherty questioned the accuracy of the defense's assessment. She asserted Walle is no common criminal.

"This case is very distinguishable," she said. "It is one of the most egregious that has occurred in our state. It is more comparable to a case they did not mention and that is the case of Kendrick Morris."

Morris, who is well-known as the Bloomingdale Library rapist, committed a pair of rapes in east Hillsborough County at age 15 and 16. Earlier this year, he was re-sentenced to life in prison, with a mandatory review of his case after 20 years.

Morris was different, though, in that he acted alone.

Walle's cohorts, Martinez and Reyes-Carbajal, got life and 50 years respectively.

The judge said she had considered a number of factors as the law requires, including Walle's immaturity and the influence of the other two men. But she gave "great weight" to the lengthy duration of the crime and the fact that he did it days after he had committed the St. Petersburg crime.

Walle's new sentence will run concurrent to his Pinellas sentence, meaning 60 years will be the most he will spend in prison. He will be eligible to have his sentence reviewed after he has served 20 years.

Contact Dan Sullivan at dsullivan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

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