A man convicted of raping and beating a woman he later claimed offered him money for sex was properly convicted but should not have been given two consecutive five-years-to-life sentences, the Utah Supreme Court ruled.
In a unanimous decision released Tuesday, justices rejected Reginald Williams' claims that 3rd District Judge Michael Murphy should have allowed evidence during the trial that the victim had sexual relations with another man the same night.Williams wanted to discredit the woman, who originally had lied about having sex earlier on the night of the attack. He claimed semen found during an examination after the attack could have belonged to the other man.
The woman suffered a broken nose and a crushed esophagus during the attack. She claimed Williams broke into her apartment, tied and beat her, raped her and demanded $100. He allowed her to leave the apartment to get the money and she went to the police, who found Williams waiting in the apartment.
Williams claimed the woman offered to pay him $100 for sex and that he hit her when she refused to pay.
But the court, in a decision written by Chief Justice Gordon Hall, said Williams should not have been given an additional, consecutive sentence for being a habitual criminal. Hall agreed Williams is an habitual criminal but said the additional sentence should run concurrently. Williams had previously been convicted of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.
"Utah's habitual criminal statute does not create a new crime, but rather enhances punishment for the latest substantive office," Hall wrote. A consecutive sentence would have punished Williams a second time for earlier crimes and would have been double jeopardy, the decision said.