Newport News, Va. - Alexander Reyes, 50, will spend the next 40 years behind bars. A Newport News Circuit Court judge formally sentenced him on Wednesday after he was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl.
But based on the state's sentencing guidelines, Reyes' recommended sentence was only two to seven years. It’s a big difference from the actual outcome.
"The guidelines simply take into account what the individual's charged with and his record and how these type of charges are generally handled in Virginia," explains Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Chad Perkins.
The Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (VCSC) develops, implements, and administers felony sentencing guidelines used in circuit courts across the state. Guidelines that, even the commission says, are discretionary. And, guidelines Perkins says don’t take into account the sensitive details of a specific case like this one.
"It doesn't take into account the relationship between the victim and the defendant and it certainly doesn't take into account the ongoing trauma that the victim is going to have to live with for the rest of her life," says Perkins. Police say Reyes sexually abused the young teen on several occasions from October 2011 through January 2012.
In early June, a jury convicted him of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of carnal knowledge with a minor, and indecent liberties. Charges that, Perkins says, bring with them a maximum penalty of 50 years in jail.
So, even though the state only recommended two to seven, the jury decides on the final recommendation once they see and hear the evidence in court.
"The jury is told this is what the penalty range is, this is what you can choose from," says Perkins.
Reyes’ attorney, George Yates, tells NewsChannel 3 he will appeal the decision.