'I wanted to protect others'

Justin Adney

La PORTE – A Westville man will spend more than 35 years in prison, sentenced Wednesday after being convicted of beating, choking and raping a woman more than three years ago.

In August, 37-year-old Justin D. Adney was found guilty of four counts of rape and one count of strangulation against his then girlfriend. The jury agreed with prosecutors that he beat and raped her repeatedly while she was physically restrained on May 5, 2015.

Judge Thomas Alevizos sentenced Adney to 36 years for a Level 1 felony rape conviction, which carried a maximum of 40 years. He also gave Adney 14 years for each of three Level 3 felony rape convictions, and two years for a Level 6 felony strangulation conviction.

The sentences total 80 years but will be served concurrently.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, the victim explained how the crimes have affected her daily life. She told the court she now suffers hearing and memory loss from being beaten by Adney. She also suffers from PTSD as a result of the attack, and hair loss from the stress of it all.

But she said she was determined to seek justice.

“I had no idea how grueling and expensive it would be,” she said, adding, “I wanted to protect others from becoming victims of Mr. Adney’s abuse.”

The judge found Adney’s prior convictions significant in determining his sentence. He violated the terms of his bond, and has had two subsequent arrests.

The woman testified that Adney raped her multiple times while beating her and throwing her over a counter and onto a stove. She later had to take out a protective order after he threatened to kill her. That order went into effect about six weeks after the initial incident, she testified.

Adney is accused of violating that protective order when he sent her a Facebook message while out on bond in July 2015. The message said, “So this is how it is going to be?” The victim interpreted the message as a threat.

He was charged with misdemeanor invasion of privacy, a charge that is pending.

Adney also has a domestic battery case pending against him from July of this year, when he allegedly battered his current girlfriend and killed her dog.

Adney told the judge he intends to appeal his sentence using a public defender.

He was convicted during his second trial on the charges. The first ended in a mistrial in October 2017 as a result of juror misconduct, reportedly after a juror who knew about Adney’s criminal history disclosed it to fellow jurors.

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