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Archive for Friday, April 30, 2010

Lawrence babysitter sentenced to life for rape conviction

Under Jessica's Law, Eric Ochs was sentenced to a life sentence for the February 2009 rape. He will not be eligible for parole until after he's served 25 years.

April 30, 2010, 1:53 p.m. Updated April 30, 2010, 7:22 p.m.

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Eric Ochs stands with his counsel Kevin Babbit as his sentence is read by Judge Michael Malone Friday, April 30, 2010 in the Division IV courtroom. Ochs received a life sentence with no possibility of parole until after 25 years for rape of an 11-year-old girl in February of 2009.

Eric Ochs stands with his counsel Kevin Babbit as his sentence is read by Judge Michael Malone Friday, April 30, 2010 in the Division IV courtroom. Ochs received a life sentence with no possibility of parole until after 25 years for rape of an 11-year-old girl in February of 2009.

Eric Ochs makes a final statement next to his counsel Kevin Babbit prior to his sentencing by Judge Michael Malone Friday, April 30, 2010 in the Division IV courtroom. Ochs received a life sentence with no possibility of parole until after 25 years for rape of an 11-year-old girl in February of 2009.

Eric Ochs makes a final statement next to his counsel Kevin Babbit prior to his sentencing by Judge Michael Malone Friday, April 30, 2010 in the Division IV courtroom. Ochs received a life sentence with no possibility of parole until after 25 years for rape of an 11-year-old girl in February of 2009.

Lawrence resident Eric Ochs, 22, spent most of his life in state custody, in and out of foster homes for as long as he can remember. Now he could spend the rest of it behind bars.

A Douglas County District Court judge handed down a life sentence Friday to Ochs for the February 2009 rape of an 11-year-old girl he was baby-sitting.

Ochs will not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 25 years in prison. A jury in January convicted Ochs of one count of rape.

The incident happened on Feb. 6, 2009, as Ochs was baby-sitting the girl and her siblings at their North Lawrence home.

“We counted him as family,” the victim’s mother told the judge. “I trusted him and took him into my home, and he did this to my daughter. She was a child and he knew what he was doing.”

Because the victim was under 14, Jessica’s Law applies. The law, passed by the Kansas Legislature in 2006, significantly increased penalties for sex crimes with young children.

Florida first enacted the law after the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in 2005 by a convicted sex offender.

Ochs’ attorney, Kevin Babbit, argued the statute is unconstitutional, saying the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Jessica’s Law makes the sentence for certain sex crimes the same as the sentence for first-degree murder, and makes the punishment more severe than second-degree murder.

Judge Michael Malone rejected the argument.

“Both Mr. Ochs and I feel strongly that it’s the wrong decision,” Babbit said. “We hope that once an appeal is filed that our supreme court will fully address this issue and decide that Jessica’s Law, or the sentence as applied to Mr. Ochs in this case, is cruel and unusual punishment.”

Babbit also filed a motion seeking a departure from the standard sentence. The defense was asking for the judge to impose a 12-year sentence instead of life in prison.

Ochs took the stand, maintaining his innocence and pleading for leniency.

“On Nov. 11, 2008, I was blessed with a daughter,” Ochs told the judge. “I made a promise that I would not be like my father. Let me be in her life even if it’s just for a little bit. Please make an exception for me.”

Malone denied the request. Ochs will first be eligible for parole when he’s 47. He’s not eligible for any time off for good behavior and will be required to be supervised for life. If he is released from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender.

Babbit said they planned on filing an appeal.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“Some may think it’s too harsh,” Branson said, “but the reality of it is the legislature decided this is what they wanted to do and until they change their mind, it’s the law that’s on the books, and it’s the law that needs to be enforced.”

Comments

1southernjayhawk 4 years, 10 months ago

Sounds fine to me. I would like to see an option of 10 years plus castration available to the defendant as well, though.

Steve Bunch 4 years, 10 months ago

Wondering how long it will take for the first Bubba comment to appear.

frank mcguinness 4 years, 10 months ago

So I guy kills a girl on her bike and gets nothing more than probation, while another rapes a young girl and gets life? I'm confused.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 10 months ago

At 22 years of age, he really "knew better". Everyone loses in cases like this.

july241983 4 years, 10 months ago

Once in a while, it would be refreshing if anonymous message board posters would just "STFU" and accept that a person accused/convicted of a crime has the right to a lawyer (even at sentencing), and that lawyer has the ethical obligation to make factual and legal arguments in defense of the client. I have a feeling if one of Pywacket's friends or family were being sentenced for a crime, Pywacket would rethink their views of the situation.

acg 4 years, 10 months ago

Too good for this piece of garbage. He raped a child. I think he should be put to death.

JayhawkAlum03 4 years, 10 months ago

Wonder how different the sentence would be had it been a different judge on the bench (i.e. one who gives ridiculously lenient sentences and blames the victim). Glad this was in front of Malone.

Deja Coffin 4 years, 10 months ago

Ochs’ attorney, Kevin Babbit, argued the statute is unconstitutional, calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.”

No, that's what that little girl experienced. Good riddance! Props to Judge Malone for seeing this crime for what it is and making sure this guy pays for it!

Amy Heeter 4 years, 10 months ago

All convicted of such crimes should serve life.

Kirk Larson 4 years, 10 months ago

Too bad for him he's not a priest...a stern tsk,tsk and a transfer.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 10 months ago

That poor child has to live with what happened for the rest of her life. However her family and community will do everything they can do make her life happy & better.

Eric Ochs, on the the other hand will never have a good day again, rightfully so.

I would like to know more about this guy a photo, if he was a student or where he worked would be interesting to know.

A20271 4 years, 10 months ago

He worked at Checker's at one point but after that job he worked at a restaurant where I worked with him for about 2 weeks before he got arrested. What a sick sick sick person. I'm glad he is getting life in prison.

broadpaw 4 years, 10 months ago

Good work, Judge Malone. Keep this creep off our streets.

EyeonKansas 4 years, 10 months ago

I hope this one ends up falling under the law where even after 25yrs they can continue to hold him because he's a sexually violent predator.

I think all defense attorney's are handed cue cards when they graduate on the words they are required to say when their side doesn't win... even when they are required by law to help defend a person they find morally reprehensible and just plan scum.

said_zeppelin 4 years, 10 months ago

Good job Judge Malone. Too bad it is only a minimum of 25 years. I wonder if it was just a coincidence or karma that the advertisement was for bail bonds when I read this story?

somedude20 4 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how a grown human brain can find children sexually attractive. I look at a kid and I just see a kid but these "people" see a sex objects? I don't believe that they can be rehabilitated at all they are hardwired differently.

IrishJayhawk65 4 years, 10 months ago

Way to go, Judge Malone!! We need to start sending a much harsher message to these mutated monsters of society that prey on our children.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 4 years, 10 months ago

Too bad they called him a "babysitter". I mean, sure, that's what he was doing, but it's not like he was running a daycare.

"I wonder how a grown human brain can find children sexually attractive."

He's attracted to kids because he's about as mature as an 11 year old. That's the way those guys are wired.

Kelly Johnson 4 years, 10 months ago

OldEnuf - I was JUST about to say the same thing. This headline is so stupid. It should simply read "Lawrence Man Sentenced to Life for Rape Conviction."

I think the sentence is as good as it could possibly be, since he can't be castrated. He "sentenced" that poor little girl to LIFE with memories of being raped and she doesn't get an appeal.

2nieces 4 years, 10 months ago

Babbit is a good guy and a good attorney who did his job in this case. He is supposed to defend his client anyway he can within the law.

By doing his job doesn't mean Babbit is a slimeball. Right or wrong Ochs does have a right to counsel.

ralphralph 4 years, 10 months ago

I used to believe all that, but don't any more. If you have a soul, then defending child molesters wears away at it until you can no longer face who you are and what you do. Is it necessary to defend molesters? Probably so. Can you do it without getting some on you? Probably not.

WhiteDog 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Thanks goodness for these people who can take on the tough cases and do them well. Defense attorneys perform an invaluable service to our community. Thank you Mr. Babbit for doing what I'm sure was a difficult job.

DRsmith 4 years, 10 months ago

They really need to change the name of the sentence. Since when is 25 years considered "Life". Especially for a 22 year old.

july241983 4 years, 10 months ago

It's a life sentence. He only has the chance to get out on parole after 25 years. That is by no means guaranteed.

mdrndgtl 4 years, 10 months ago

The Catholic church is the number one employer of “babysitters”

Donald Loux 4 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Ochs worked at Checkers. He was not the only person watching the children that night. The trial testimony showed that his girlfriend was the primary babysitter. He was just keeping her company. (The Journal-World got that fact wrong when it originally covered the trial in January.) Mr. Babbit did a fine job during the trial. He took the case pro bono since Douglas County does not have public defenders. He is just doing his job so give him a break.

ssakcaj 4 years, 10 months ago

Is Babbit even a criminal defense attorney? I thought he did injury and family law. I'm not sure how many people would want to have a divorce attorney for their criminal defense.

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