The two men began stalking the woman in Springfield Mall, where she had gone to select her wedding dress. As she approached her car in a darkened parking lot, the men shoved her in and drove though the streets. One man raped her in the backseat, then the other pulled off her engagement ring and they fled and left her bound and blindfolded in her car.
A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge yesterday sentenced Robert F. Smith, 27, to 110 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 20, 1982, incident on charges of abduction, robbery and assessory to rape. His accomplice, David Ragno, 27, already had been sentenced to 110 years on charges of rape, robbery and abduction.
Ragno also has been convicted of the rape of an Arlington woman 13 days after the parking lot incident and has been given sentences totaling 95 years on five charges in that case. Smith faces sentencing next week on charges of robbery, abduction and burglary in the later incident. Both men have pleaded guilty to each of the charges against them in the two cases.
Smith insisted yesterday, however, that he did not know Ragno was raping the woman in the back seat.
"I don't believe you," said Judge Barbara Keenan, before imposing the sentence. Keenan said the victim's earlier testimony against Smith "was the most chilling account of a human experience that I've ever heard."
The woman said in her testimony that the men, residents of Johnstown, Pa., had repeatedly raped her as she lay on the back seat, her hands bound by radiator hose clamps and with electrical tape covering her eyes.
She said that after the men abandoned the car in the mall parking lot, she managed to open the car door and stumble through the lot screaming, "Help me! Help me!" She had been stripped of her clothes from the waist down and her blouse was ripped open, according to her statement.
"The aftermath has been more traumatic than I ever would have imagined . . . ," the woman said in a written presentencing statement to the judge. "If a store is too crowded, I'm unable to shop. I begin sweating and shaking and leave in tears with unexplained anxiety . . . . I cry and cry and cry. It's the only release I know."
The victim sat on the second row in the courtroom throughout yesterday's two-hour hearing, shaking visibly as prosecutors and defense attorneys recounted details of the incident. After the hearing, she told prosecutors that she was satisfied with the sentence imposed.
Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. argued that Smith should be given a life sentence for what he termed a "brutal and vicious crime." Under Virginia law, Smith could be eligible for parole in eight years.
"I think it would be a travesty of justice if he were to walk out in eight years," Horan said.
Keenan said she imposed the 110-year prison term on Smith partly because of his participation in the second crime.
In that case, Ragno was convicted in an Arlington Circuit Court of abducting a woman at knife-point in her home and raping her after tying her feet to one end of a brass bed and slipping a noose around her neck and tying it to the other end of the bed. He raped the woman while Smith ransacked the house, according to testimony.
"This didn't happen just once," Keenan told Smith. "You went out a second time . . . . You helped him [Ragno] rape that woman by being there." Keenan said she found it disturbing that "you could pass undetected through society, then commit these bizarre crimes."