Brutal attack nets 35 years in prison
Rodney Leroy Anderson of Victoria was recently sentenced in Lunenburg Circuit Court to an active sentence of 35 years in prison for brutally slashing a 59-year-old woman’s throat with a hacksaw on May 4.
Lunenburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement said both he and assistant prosecutor Baxter Stegall presented facts and arguments for the maximum sentence of life in prison, but the judge chose to go above the sentencing guidelines by 10 years, imposing 60 years with 25 years suspended. Clement said he is hopeful that the 35 years will in effect be a life sentence for the 53-year-old Anderson.
Clement said his arguments emphasized the future dangerousness of Anderson since he has a history of assaultive behavior, including convictions for Malicious Wounding in 1992, Unlawful Wounding in 2004, and six convictions for Assault and Battery from 1987 through 2018. He argued that there was nothing the judge could do to avoid further acts of violence by Anderson in society or to control his excessive alcohol abuse except imprisonment for life.
He also argued that horrendous nature of the act itself exemplified a vileness and depravity of mind that stripped Anderson of any right to liberty. “He forfeited his right to freedom when he put that hacksaw to the throat of a friend and sawed away, tearing through flesh and tissue, nicking the esophagus and the trachea, and failing only by the grace of God to have missed the severance of arteries and the airway itself.”
“Of all the horrendous photos I have seen over 38 years of prosecution,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement, “this was the most gruesome.” The skin had fallen from her neck and exposed the remaining tissues and organs. “How she lived through this was a miracle,” said Clement.
Clement also emphasized how Anderson had never shown remorse and tried to avoid responsibility with lies and deceit. Anderson first told police that an unknown white male had burst into the house and cut the victim, then fled into the woods. Anderson told police he gave chase, but was unable to catch the supposed attacker.
When Deputy Greg Currin confronted Anderson about how he could chase a man if he was so intoxicated that he could barely stand up, Anderson had no reply. Anderson then changed his story and said that the victim was lying on his floor when he got home. When asked about the blood on his hands and shirt, Anderson said that he had injured himself while riding his bicycle. While in custody in the back of the police car, Anderson was recorded on Currin’s body-worn camera saying, “I’m going to kill this b***h.”
Currin interviewed Anderson once again a few days later after it was clear that the victim would survive and be able to testify against him. Anderson admitted that he had assaulted the victim. He claimed they had a confrontation which led to the victim striking him. He then said he just “snapped.” When asked if he had used a hacksaw, he told the deputy that he didn’t remember, but had numerous types of bladed weapons and tools strewn all over his house, and it could have been a hacksaw that he used.
Clement said the hacksaw was recovered and had flesh on the blade.
It wasn’t until after arguments of the attorneys at the sentencing that Anderson, in his opportunity to make a statement before the judge sentenced him, said he was sorry he had hurt his friend. He said he would accept whatever punishment the judge gave him.
The victim did not testify at the hearing, but had prepared a Victim Impact Statement in which she said she thought she was doing to die when he attacked her, remembering the pain until she passed out. She has a six-inch scar to her neck, and parts of her neck are still sensitive and other parts are numb. She easily gets choked on food. She was in the hospital from May 4 to May 31 and had to return to the emergency room three times due to complications. “I don’t trust anyone. I don’t go out in the dark … I’m afraid.”
The suspended 25 years are subject to conditions of good behavior for 60 years commencing immediately, supervised probation if he is ever released, no contact with the victim, and restitution of medical expenses to the state Victim’s Fund.