Man sentenced for repeated rape of girl

A 14-year-old girl who said she had been raped since she was 7 smiled broadly Tuesday when she learned her attacker, Michael Little, would spend the rest of his life behind bars.

After Mesa County Judge Thomas Deister sentenced Little to 96 years in prison, calling the man’s actions “absolutely appalling,” the girl was swept up into long embraces by a host of supporters who attended the hearing with her.

“It’s saddening that (she’s) been through things that most people have never had to go through, and not once has she shown a tear or sorrow, always a smile,” Chief Deputy District
Attorney Tammy Eret said Tuesday about the victim. “It’s almost as if she was reassuring us about what we had to go through on her behalf.”

In contrast, long faces marked the looks of Little’s family, who were sitting on the other side of the courtroom. As Little was ushered out of the courtroom, he offered a small wave from his shackled hands, shrugged his shoulders and muttered, “See you in 96 years.”

Deister sentenced Little to 16 years to life in prison for each of the six counts of rape for which a jury in November found him guilty. He was credited for 181 days spent in Mesa County Jail. Little will have to pay more than $4,000 in fines.

During the trial, the jury heard testimony from the girl, watched a videotaped interview of Little confessing the assaults to police and was shown that Little’s DNA matched several spots of semen found on the girl’s bedspread.

Eret criticized Little for taking the case to trial, which essentially made the girl recount the abuse to “total strangers,” and for his refusal to undergo a sexual-offender evaluation or to seek treatment.

Little’s defense at trial was that he confessed to the assaults in order to finish the interview with police.

His attorney, Colorado Public Defender John Burkey, said Tuesday he counseled his client not to take the sexual-offender evaluation because the verdict would be appealed and that statements from an evaluation might be used against his client in the future.

“I don’t think there’s any hope for you,” Deister said to Little.


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