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Hackey gets three life terms for raping 11-year-old girl, two women

February 26, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- A serial rapist who preyed on an 11-year-old girl and two women was sentenced Tuesday morning to three life sentences, with all but 50 years suspended in each of the last two.

James Ellis Hackey Jr., 39, pleaded guilty in December 2007 to three counts of first-degree rape.

In exchange for Hackey's pleas in Washington County Circuit Court, prosecutors agreed to drop their pursuit of a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Before other charges were dropped in exchange for the plea, Hackey was charged with 54 counts of assault, rape and other sexual offenses related to three incidents.

One of those incidents involved the kidnapping and rape of an 11-year-old girl who was taken from her bedroom at Oak Ridge Apartments.

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"I don't think I will be able to think like a kid again," said the mother of the 11-year-old victim, reading Tuesday morning from a letter her daughter wrote. The girl wrote that she always is hiding and can't sleep in the dark.

Hackey is "the most dangerous predator this community has seen ... in recent memory," Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Tuesday.

Two women, a 40-year-old and an 18-year-old, also were raped in separate incidents.

Cirincion said during the December 2007 plea hearing that Hackey broke into homes on Manor Drive and Kelly's Lane, and raped a woman at each place. Prosecutors have video evidence of the rape of the 18-year-old, and Cirincion called the video a "graphic depiction of sexual assault."

DNA samples from two of the cases were matched with Hackey's DNA after he was taken into custody in June, Cirincion said.

The 40-year-old woman described the rape as "pure terror" and felt a tremendous amount of guilt for not stopping Hackey before he raped again, Cirincion said.

The 18-year-old and 11-year-old were raped after the first woman, prosecutors said.

A Division of Correction psychologist who interviewed Hackey for a pre-sentence investigation did not diagnose any major mental illnesses, but determined that he suffers from an antisocial personality disorder and is a sexual sadist, Cirincion said.

Hackey told the psychologist that he would have killed a woman eventually had he not been taken off the street. He also said that "white women are easy prey," and that he enjoyed watching his victims and how scared they were, the prosecutor said.

"What I did was wrong," Hackey said before the judge sentenced him. "I'm dealing with some problems a lot of people don't understand."

Assistant Public Defender Jerome J. Joyce said his client had been abused as a child, and said Hackey should receive some type of treatment in prison. Joyce also reminded the judge that Hackey wanted to take a plea to spare the victims the trauma of testifying.

What happened to the 11-year-old might have happened to someone else years ago, Cirincion said. In the Frederick area during the 1980s, Hackey faced 12 counts of burglary and was charged with sexual assault, but the assault charge was not pursued, Cirincion said after Tuesday's sentencing.

The Herald-Mail reported in June 2007 that Hackey was charged by the Frederick Police Department with second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses, several counts of burglary and battery on July 14, 1987.

Hackey served 17 years in prison for burglary.

Burglary sometimes is the first step for sexual offenders, State's Attorney Charles Strong said after Tuesday's hearing.

Prosecutors said after the hearing that Hackey will be eligible for parole after he serves 25 years for each of the life sentences, with all but 50 suspended, and after he serves 15 or 16 years of the life sentence. In Maryland, the governor must approve the parole of any inmate serving life in prison.

Hackey must be registered as a violent sexual offender and as a child sexual offender, the judge ordered.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley said Hackey was "too violent, too dangerous" to live in the community and that he showed domination over and violence toward women.

Cirincion credited the Hagerstown Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff's Department with getting Hackey off the street before he could rape again.

"They did not sleep," she said.

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