March 14, 2007
Nearly twenty-three years after a sexual assault at a U.Va fraternity party, the victim, Liz Securro, got a letter from her attacker, William Beebe. In it, he apologized for the crime as part of an Alcoholics Anonymous program.
Securro went to authorities and Thursday Beebe will find out his punishment.
"In the twenty-eight years I've been practicing it's the first case I've ever seen like it," said legal analyst David Heilburg.
Tomorrow in court, William Beebe, the man who pleaded guilty for the 1984 crime is expected to be sentenced.
Under Virginia law, those guilty of rape can face up to life in prison.
Thanks to a plea agreement, however, prosecutors are only asking for two years.
"You're certainly better off if you have somebody who, as this gentleman did, after so many years, unsolicited, when he didn't have to," said Heilburg.
The two year deal stems from an agreement that Beebe would provide more information in the case, including names of others involved in the assault at the 1984 fraternity party. They could also face charges.
"If he gets two years, it sounds like it's a done deal that there will probably be some other charges forthcoming. If he gets greater than that, that might be a sign that it just didn't work out," said Heilburg.
In court Thursday both sides could present evidence. The Commonwealth will present a victim impact statement. It can be a written statement or the victim herself could take the stand.
As for Beebe, he'll likely give an elocution.
"That's the part that everybody's familiar with, where the judge says is there anything you wish to say before I pronounce sentence, and that's where you can say whatever is in your heart without being cross examined," said Heilburg.
Regardless of the length of the sentence, this case will still be about a rape victim, and Beebe will likely be on his way to serving time.
"One thing about criminal justice, I guess, is that there are never winners," said Heilburg