A man convicted in the rapes of two USC students and the attempted rape of a third woman was sentenced Friday to more than 77 years in prison after a Superior Court judge characterized the crimes as the worst and most uncaring offenses he has encountered.
Willie Damone Taylor, 31, sat impassively through most of the half-hour sentencing hearing as Superior Court Judge Bernard J. Kamins ticked off one maximum sentence after another on charges involving burglary, robbery and sexual attacks.
Taylor, whose exact sentence was 77 years and eight months, will not be eligible for parole for 35 years. Taylor must also pay a $20,000 fine from any money he earns in prison.
Taylor did not react when Kamins read excerpts from letters sent to him by the three victims. But when the judge described how a West Covina woman fought off her assailant, identified as Taylor, the defendant laughed to himself and shook his head.
"The charges here don't really reflect the gravity of the harm done or the gravity of the evil done," Kamins told him.
Kamins noted that the rapes of the students had occurred less than a month after Taylor had been released on probation after being imprisoned on a parole violation. He had previously served time on another rape conviction and was on parole from that case when the attempted rape of the West Covina woman occurred.
"How could the legal system let this menace to society out of prison to rape other innocent victims?" one of the women wrote in her letter to the court.
Taylor was convicted last month in the attempted rape of the West Covina woman and in the assaults on the two students, both 20, who were roommates in an apartment near the campus. Witnesses testified that Taylor broke into the students' apartment in 1990, tied the women up, taunted them, humiliated them, raped and sodomized them before stealing money and other items.
Taylor had been charged with attacking a third student, also 20, 10 days earlier at her apartment near the USC campus but the jury deadlocked on those charges.
The assault on the West Covina woman occurred in 1989. The woman came forward after she saw Taylor on television when he was arrested in the rapes of the students. She accused Taylor of breaking into her home and tying her up; she fought him off, she told police, after he walked away from her to turn up the volume on a television set.
After the hearing Friday, the prosecutor in the case expressed satisfaction that Kamins had imposed the harshest sentence possible.
"That was great," Deputy Dist. Atty. Marc Debbaudt said. "Every day you give him is wonderful." Debbaudt said he is not certain if his office will refile charges against Taylor in the rape of the third student.
Taylor's lawyer, William L. McKinney, said he opposes retrying his client because it "would be a waste of the taxpayers' money" in light of the sentences imposed on Taylor.
McKinney said, however, that he has filed an appeal to overturn the convictions against his client and will also appeal Kamins' sentences.