By Joe Gorman
An Austintown man who had a plea deal vacated for 15 years in prison for rape charges instead will spend 80 years in prison after a jury convicted him Friday on eight counts of rape.
David T. Adams, 39, was immediately sentenced to 10 years, the maximum sentence on each count, by Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge John Durkin as bells from a nearby church peeled in the background. Judge Durkin strung all the sentences to run consecutively, for the total of 80 years.
Adams declined to speak before his sentence was carried out, but earlier, after the jury rendered its verdict but before his sentencing, Adams’ family tried to make arrangements for his mother to hold his hand or hold him because she is blind, but sheriff’s deputies would not allow it.
“You won’t be able to touch me again,” Adams said to his mother.
Jurors reported for selection Monday and began deliberating Thurs-day afternoon. Anderson was charged with eight counts of rape with a female who was 15 when the abuse started in 2006. The abuse ended in 2009.
Adams had entered an Alford plea to the charges in 2011 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit guilt but agrees that if the case goes to trial, there would be enough evidence that a jury could find him guilty.
Adams tried to take the plea back, but when Judge Durkin wouldn’t let him and he was sentenced, he collapsed to the courtroom floor. The 7th District Court of Appeals later upheld Adams’ appeal of Judge Durkin’s decision in December.
The victim in the case and her mother chose not to address the court at sentencing. Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa said they decided to let their testimony during the trial speak for itself.
Cantalamessa asked for the maximum, while defense attorney Anthony Meranto told Judge Durkin that his client had never been charged with anything like rape before and that he could be rehabilitated.
Judge Durkin said one of the reasons people take pleas is to keep some of the evidence and testimony out of court and away from a jury or a judge. He told Adams despite his denials, the girl he was convicted of raping suffered for years because of him.
“Quite frankly, you can’t fake what she said,” Judge Durkin said. “No young girl should be exposed to what you did.”
As he was walked out in handcuffs by deputies, Adams’ mother told her son, “I love you, David. I don’t believe you did it.”