Officials sentenced a professor at a women's liberal arts college in New England to at least ten years in jail on Wednesday. The said teacher tortured a colleague with a fire poker, rock, and pruning shears for hours.

In a statement, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said that Rie Hachiyanagi pleaded guilty to nine charges in Franklin County Superior Court in connection with the attack on fellow professor Lauret Savoy at Savoy's home. Hachiyanagi is a 50-year-old art professor at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley.

Judge Francis Flannery recessed the court until Wednesday morning after the change of plea hearing last week. He sentenced Hachiyanagi to 10 to 12 years in state prison.

On the night of Dec. 23, 2019, Hachiyanagi showed up at Savoy's house late at night, claiming she needed emotional support following a split.

After Savoy opened the door, Hachiyanagi allegedly bludgeoned her, held her in a "four-hour torture session" that lasted into the early hours of Christmas Eve. According to prosecutors, she confessed that she loved her for years. Savoy should have recognized her sentiments, the prosecutors added.

Savoy, who taught geology and environmental studies, said she faced "literal anguish of body and mind, not knowing if I would live the next minute—yet wanting to find some way to save my life" in an impact statement presented in court.

According to the Greenfield Recorder, Hachiyanagi told Savoy she wouldn't live much longer after noting how much blood she'd lost. She proceeded to watch her bleed while teasing her and revealing her she would go blind and deform before dying.

"She betrayed my trust, invaded my home, and tried to kill me with premeditated violence," Savoy said per  New York Post. "The cruelty she wielded with weapons, and expressed in words, was extreme."

Prosecutors said Savoy suffered stab and puncture wounds, as well as fractured bones. After Hachiyanagi restrained her and hit her repeatedly in the act of "random brutality," she got a fractured face.

According to authorities, Savoy eventually persuaded Hachiyanagi to get counseling, but her trauma has remained.

The crime's emotional, physical, financial, and professional consequences have been large, and they continue to be so, Savoy underscored. "Now the defendant's violation of me is becoming part of a public persona that I did not choose," reports said.

According to the District Attorney's Office, Hachiyanagi pleaded guilty to the following crimes:

  • three counts of armed assault with the intent to murder a person aged 60 or older;
  • three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person aged 60 or older; and 
  • single counts of mayhem, home invasion, and entering a home at night for a felony.

Her lawyer, Thomas Kokonowski, had argued for a five- to seven-year sentence with the possibility of probation. He reasoned that Hachiyanagi had no prior criminal history when he attacked Savoy. He also claimed that Hachiyanagi made an effort to control her rage.

Following her arrest in February 2020, Hachiyanagi pleaded not guilty to the allegations and was jailed without bond at the Franklin County Jail. A Franklin County Superior Court judge determined last month that she might be released with conditions if the suspect secured $5,000 cash bail. After Hachiyanagi altered her plea on Friday, her bail was revoked.

The former professor began teaching at Mount Holyoke in 2004 and had previously taught in the school's studio art, art history, and Asian studies departments before the attack.

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