Man sentenced for assault

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 12, 2003

Aaron Michael Hayes, 21 of Austin, was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for sexually assaulting an 81-year-old woman in November. The sentence is the mandatory minimum, according to state sentencing guidelines.

He also received a 21 month sentence for an unrelated assault.

Hayes raped the woman in her ground-floor bedroom at the Chauncey Apartments, Austin's newest multi-family complex.

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In January, Hayes was arrested after DNA linked him to the crime.

While in custody, he attempted to attack an Austin police captain and was hospitalized for a suicide attempt in the Mower County Jail.

When he committed the sexual assault, Hayes was free, pending court proceedings, on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.

The defendant made no comment to the court Friday afternoon at his sentencing. His defense attorney, Paul Spyhalski, said Hayes, in part, agreed to the plea agreement to spare the victim from testifying in open court at his trial.

The victim of the sexual assault spoke through Jessica Bell, an advocate for the Crime Victims Resource Center. Bell read the woman's victim's impact statement to District Judge Donald E. Rysavy in court Friday afternoon.

The victim -- through Bell -- told of the terror and trauma she suffered as well as her hospitalization and the uncertain aftermath she faces.

"I have been afraid to open a window," she said. "I can't walk down a hallway without being sure I have locked my door behind me. I am jumpy about things now.

"I have been emotionally affected, it has made me afraid and I have a hard time sleeping at night."

According to the victim, she willingly accepts the plea agreement reached by prosecutor Eric Herendeen and Spyhalski. However, she asked the court to order the defendant be tested for sexually-transmitted diseases and that the results be shared with her.

Before pronouncing a sentence, Rysavy noted Hayes' pre-sentence investigation and concluded, "Since becoming a teenager, you have been repeatedly involved in conduct involved in hurting people. Five or six times by knife."

"I don't know if you are able to change the way you think or act while you are in prison," Rysavy said.

The judge sentenced Hayes to 21 months in prison for the second degree assault charge guilty plea. He will have to serve a minimum of 1 year and two months and receive credit for time served.

On the first degree criminal sexual conduct charge's guilty plea, Hayes was sentenced to 12 years and will have to serve a minimum of 8 years. He also received credit for time served. The sentences will be served concurrently.

The judge also attached five years of conditional release provisions to the sentence. Hayes also will have to submit a blood sample for STD testing.

All other charges, stemming from the assault of a police officer, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Hayes will be credited for 202 days in the Mower County jail on the assault charge and 187 for criminal sexual conduct.

The second degree assault charge stemmed from a July 2002 stabbing incident at a northwest Austin residence.

Hayes was originally charged with seven felonies in connection with the November 2002 sexual assault and one in connection with the July 2002 stabbing of a victim who recovered.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at