A Vineyard Haven man accused of raping a West Tisbury woman at knifepoint two years ago was convicted of kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, aggravated rape and home invasion on Wednesday and sentenced to up to 28 years in prison by a Dukes county superior court judge.
The Hon. Mary-Lou Rup, an associate justice of superior court, sentenced Scott B. Donavan, 36, to a maximum prison sentence of 28 years to be served at MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole. As part of his sentence, Mr. Donavan will serve 25 years probation after his release, during which time he will be required to register as a convicted sex offender and wear a global positioning system device.
Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard said the jail sentence was one of the longest in Dukes County superior court history.
Mr. Donavan was indicted by a grand jury last fall on nine counts: aggravated rape, assault to rape, home invasion, kidnapping, armed assault in a dwelling, armed burglary, two counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and larceny of a motor vehicle.
He had initially requested a jury trial, and jury selection commenced Tuesday morning and continued through Wednesday afternoon. A total of nine out of the necessary 14 jurors had been selected Wednesday when Mr. Donavan agreed to a plea agreement offered by the district attorney’s office.
If Mr. Donavan had been found guilty during a jury trial, he could have faced life in prison.
After Mr. Donavan agreed to the plea agreement Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Marshard read a brief narrative of the attack on Aug. 28, 2006, and told the judge that if the case had gone to trial the commonwealth would have proven that Mr. Donavan had been infatuated with the victim for several months and had planned the attack for several days.
She said the victim awoke from a deep sleep sometime after midnight to find Mr. Donavan holding a knife to her throat. Mr. Donavan then struck then struck her in the head several times with a metal pipe, and later tried to force her to drink an unknown substance, Ms. Marshard said.
At one point the victim was able to break free and run outside, but Mr. Donavan caught up to her and pushed her to the ground after which he struck her in the head several times with a rock. He then dragged her back inside and tied her to the bed with computer cords, tape and a scarf and raped her, Ms. Marshard said.
Ms. Marshard initially recommended Mr. Donavan be sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison followed by 30 years of probation. She noted that Mr. Donavan was previously convicted of aggravated rape in western Massachusetts in 1998 and was sentenced to four to six years in prison and had only been out of prison a short time before the West Tisbury attack.
Ms. Marshard read an impact statement written from the victim, who was in court and stood by the assistant district attorney as the statement was read. The victim in her statement said she had undergone extensive medical treatment after the attack, including plastic surgery to repair facial injuries. She also said she has suffered from debilitating vertigo and has since moved off the Island and away from her job and family in an attempt to “try and get back to normal.”
The victim in her statement urged the court to take steps to prevent Mr. Donavan from hurting another woman in the future.
“My biggest concern is that he not have an opportunity to do this to another woman. Someone else with a little less luck might not have survived. I want him off the street until he is so old and infirm he can’t possibly do this again,” she said.
Defense attorney Thomas Mello asked the judge to impose a 15-year prison sentence and a five-year probation period, arguing his client has accepted responsibility. “Nothing I can say will make things better for the victim, the facts are egregious,” he said. “But Mr. Donavan did plead guilty and accept responsibility.”
Judge Rup in the end opted for a middle ground between the two recommended sentences.
She sentenced Mr. Donavan to serve no less than 23 years and no more than 28 years for aggravated rape, no less than eight years and no more than 10 years for kidnapping, and no less than eight years and no more than 10 years for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The three sentences will run concurrently.
The judge sentenced Mr. Donavan to 25 years of probation on the charge of home invasion to be served after he is released from prison. During that period, he must register as a convicted sex offender, have no contact with the victim or her family, be equipped with a global positioning system at his own expense, attend sexual predator counseling and perform monthly community service.