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Judge Orders Michael Jacques to Never Be Released from Prison
By Joe Gullo
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Michael Jacques was sentenced Tuesday for drugging, raping, and killing his 12-year-old niece Brooke Bennett in 2008.
A federal judge sentenced Jacques to life in prison, plus 70 years.
In August, Jacques pleaded guilty to six charges. That was part of a plea deal that spared him the death penalty.
A U.S. federal judge called this a "crime of unspeakable horror." The judge said he wanted to make sure the cold, hearted killer was never released from prison.
Outside U.S. federal court in Burlington, U.S. Attorney for Vermont Tris Coffin said the case against Michael Jacques was finally over.
"What is not over is the pain and injury Jacques caused during his decades of preying on young, Vermont females," Coffin said.
In court, where cameras are not allowed, Jacques listened with little emotion as family members of Brooke Bennett spoke. Jacques appearance has changed a lot since he was charged in 2008 with drugging, raping, and killing his niece.
Prosecutors say Jacques had worked on a plan for years, and made up an elaborate scheme to throw law enforcement off his tracks.
"This was a case like I've never seen before," Vermont State Police Colonel Thomas L'Esperance said.
After court, Bennett's grandmother Lucinda Milne talked about her statement in court. That's where she told Jacques to "rot in prison. Hell is waiting for you."
While in court Jacques did say he was sorry, but Milne says she did not buy it.
"His day will come. He will be sorry," Milne said.
Prosecutors say they had dropped going after the death penalty to spare a difficult trial for one of Jacques' victims. They say justice was served by making sure Jacques is never free.
"Sometimes when something terrible happens to a loved one, the family, in searching for what went wrong, begins to blame themselves," Coffin said. "There is no cause for that here. Michael Jacques was the most scheming, predatory sex offender that we've ever seen."
At this point, Coffin is not sure where Jacques will be sent. That decision is up to the bureau of prisons and it's likely a long process.