Serial sexual predator Marlek Holmes will be locked away in state prison for 15 years, with more local charges pending, after his sentencing in Genesee County Court today.
The 43-year-old Holmes, who has already spent 14 years of his adult life in prison and is a registered Level 3 sex offender, read a lengthy statement to Judge Charles Zambito before his sentencing in which he declaimed all responsibility for the sexual assault on his underage victim except that he should have been the one protecting her from another, unnamed, assailant.
"If I had not been in prison, I would have been there to protect her from the person who sexually abused her," he said.
His victim also spoke in court -- a slight girl, barely in her teens, whose pink pants fit loosely on her thin frame -- and cried throughout most of her statement, which both described the horror she knows she will always live with and the pain of the physical assaults.
"I'm scared to even look at you," she said.
She said she can forgive but never forget.
"I wish you the best," she said. "I know you're not going to make it, but God bless."
Holmes, wiry and muscular, sat casually at the defense table, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, with his hands cuffed to his waist, and never looking at the girl.
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said Holmes caught quite a break in getting a plea agreement the day his trial was supposed to start May 4. Holmes was originally charged, in this case, with Class A felonies of predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child. A conviction in a jury trial may have meant a life sentence.
Friedman said he believes a life sentence would be appropriate, but the deal -- saving the girl, who said she also favored Holmes getting life in prison, the necessity of testifying -- allowed Holmes to plead guilty to a Class C violent felony, attempted criminal sexual act in the first degree.
After going through Holmes' lengthy criminal record, which includes prior sexual assaults, two prison terms, two periods on parole, and still 27 counts of other criminal charges, Friedman said Holmes deserved no more consideration in his sentence than what he's already received.
"He is a sexual predator," Friedman said. "He has always been a sexual predator. He will always be a sexual predator."
Zambito noted the contradiction between the statement provided by Holmes and the clear, emotional statement by his victim naming him as the abuser. Holmes, he said, did get a substantial break with the plea deal.
"I can't conceive of any legitimate reason to give anything other than the maximum sentence this plea allows," Zambito said.
A trial date for the other charges against Holmes was set for Aug. 28, but both Fred Rarick, representing Holmes, and Friedman, said they would discuss a possible plea deal to settle those charges as well.