At times, life sentences can seem excessive.
Take the case of Katina Smith, mother of Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who got life for her connection to a cocaine ring operated by her mother, even though Katina didn't actually deal any drugs. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence after she served fifteen years, and this past Sunday, she saw her son play pro ball for the first time.
We feel confident in predicting that the life sentence handed to Lawrence White will be considerably less controversial.
The 49-year-old was convicted of kidnapping and sexual assault. And the facts of the case, which involves repeated rapes and the alleged use of a rope to prevent the victim for screaming, are absolutely shocking.
In September 2014, according to the First Judicial District DA's office, White met a young woman at the Ralston Lounge in Arvada.
The Ralston Lounge.
Photo by Eric Gruneisen
Following what the DA's office characterizes as "cocktails and conversation," the woman accompanied White to his home — and after the couple had more to eat and drink, the situation went from amenable to flat-out horrifying.
Somewhere along the lines, the woman lost consciousness — and when White woke her, he did so by jerking on a rope.
One end of the rope is said to have been tied around her neck, while the other was secured to one of his legs.
White said the rope was meant to prevent her from crying out, she told investigators.
Over the next thirty hours, prosecutors say White held the woman captive and sexually assaulted her repeatedly.
Inside the Ralston Lounge.
Photo by Eric Gruneisen
Finally, he took her back to her home in Thornton, after which she immediately went to an area hospital.
Her injuries included "multiple linear abrasions and bruises around her neck from being choked with the rope," the DA's office notes, as well as "hemorrhaging in both eyes and a petechia (bleeding in the tissue from broken blood vessels) inside her throat and ears, caused by the choking," in addition to scratches, bruising and vaginal wounds.
Before long, White was busted, and this past December, a jury in Jefferson County found him guilty of kidnapping, second-degree assault and multiple sex-assault counts.
This wasn't his first conviction. His record is marked by three previous felonies, including accessory to murder related to a case in California.
Last week, the hammer came down again.
“This is one of the most calculated and vicious attacks that I have ever seen,” First Judicial District DA Pete Weir noted in a statement, adding, “This man held this innocent young woman prisoner for almost two days and repeatedly raped and assaulted her. He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison."
Here's a larger look at White's booking photo.
First Judicial District DA's office