Sentence cut in half for man convicted of raping YSU student

[image] Chaz Bunch

A prison inmate convicted of kidnapping, robbing and repeatedly raping a Youngstown State student when he was 16-years-old, has had a 105 year prison sentence more than cut in half. 

Chaz Bunch, now 34-years-old,  was re-sentenced Friday to 49 years by Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge Maureen Sweeney.  The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that his 105-year sentence ordered by Judge Scott Krichbaum,  was too harsh, because it's unconstitutional for a juvenile to be sentenced to what amounts to life in prison.

That means Bunch, who has spent more than half of his life behind bars, must serve 31 more years in prison, after receiving credit for time served.

Bunch's victim who we will refer to only as Melissa, says this re-sentencing has forced her to come face to face with her attacker again.

"Chaz Bunch wanted me dead, and by the grace of God in the final moments of the scariest, chaotic night of my life, Jamar Collier and Brandon Moore (both co-defendants of Bunch) -- stopped him from pulling the trigger.  Chaz's gun was actually in my mouth when Jamar pushed him away."

The group was caught after the victim memorized the license plate of their getaway vehicle.  She also identified Bunch as the ring leader of her rape and robbery, and a co-defendant identified him as the one in charge as well.

When it was time for Bunch to address the court he told Judge Sweeney that she should recuse herself because he claims she did not follow the law by sentencing one of the other three men convicted of 50 years in prison.

"The real reason that I stand before you is because the victim is white and I am black," Bunch said.

Mahoning County's Chief Prosecutor Paul Gains says, "I was offended by his comments.  Judge Krichbaum, Judge Sweeney are not racist.  This case was not motivated by race.  His protestations of innocence are belied by the facts of the case."

According to court documents, Bunch, then 15-year-old Moore, 17-year-old Andre Bundy, and 21-year-old Jamar Callier, were all arrested in connection with the August 21, 2001 robbery and rape the senior YSU student as she was arriving for her night shift job at a group home for mentally handicapped women.

In 2016 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Moore's 141-year sentence and Bunch's 105-year sentence were counter to a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The state justices ordered re-sentencing for Moore and Bunch.

Judge Krichbaum has since recused himself from the case, and last year Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney re-sentenced Moore.

Jamar Callier sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of abduction and theft.

Andre Bundy, who was convicted of aggravated robbery and conspiracy, received a ten-year prison sentence.

The victim told 21 News after court that she's hoping she can finally move forward with her life, but she will never be the same.

"My life has been forever altered, forever changed.  I had so many dreams, so many aspirations.  But I just got caught up in my own head with the fear and the disgust, and the shame of that night,"  Melissa said.

The victim went on to say that Bunch's claims about being an African-American teenager in an economically poor area and being a juvenile should not matter or even come in to play, "I didn't live a life of privilege either.  My mom left at a very young age, I grew up in a trailer park -- but I grew up knowing what was right and wrong.  And I wanted to better myself and that's why I got a full scholarship and had plans for my life, but he changed it that night.  Hopefully after today I can start living my truth, and my life -- that I got justice."

Details of the crime

Advisory: The following description of the crime from the Ohio Supreme Court ruling on the Brandon Moore case contains graphic details that some may find disturbing. The victim is identified only with the initials “M.K.”

The facts of this case do not engender a sense of sympathy for appellant, Brandon Moore. Moore embarked on a criminal rampage of escalating depravity on the evening of August 21, 2001, in Youngstown. He was then 15 years old. Early that evening, Moore robbed at gunpoint Jason Cosa and Christine Hammond in the driveway of Cosa’s home. Cosa and Hammond saw Moore get into an awaiting dark, older automobile as he fled the scene.

Later that night, at around 10:20, M.K., a 21-year-old student at Youngstown State University, arrived for her night-shift job at a group home for mentally handicapped women. While removing some things from the trunk of her car, she noticed a black car driving up the street and stopping a few houses away.

Moore, wearing a mask, emerged from the vehicle and started running toward her. When he arrived at her vehicle, he pressed a gun against her and instructed her to give him all her money and belongings. When a porch light came on at the group home, Moore ordered M.K. to get into the passenger seat of her car. Moore then got into the driver’s seat, ordered M.K. to start the car, and drove away with her.

As they were driving, he ordered her to give him her jewelry. After they drove a short distance, Moore stopped the car briefly behind the black car. Chaz Bunch entered the victim’s car through the rear passenger door. Bunch put a gun to her head and demanded her money.

Moore continued driving, following the black car, which was being driven by Andre Bundy. As Moore drove, he inserted his fingers into M.K.’s vagina. M.K. pleaded for her life. At one point, Moore drove close enough to the black car that he almost hit it, jerking to a stop; at that point, the cars were so close that M.K. could make out the black car’s license plate. She memorized the number. J

Eventually, Moore pulled ahead of the black car and drove down a dead-end street. The black car followed. Both cars parked near a gravel lot, and Bunch ordered M.K. out of the car. Once outside the car, Moore and Bunch assaulted M.K., grabbing her by the hair and forcing their penises into her mouth; one would orally rape her while the other forced her head down. This was repeated two or three times, at gunpoint.

Moore and Bunch then directed M.K. to the trunk of her car. At this point, another man, Jamar Callier, exited the black car and went through M.K.’s belongings in the trunk. M.K. was told to pull her pants down and turn around. M.K. resisted, and in an attempt to avoid any further violence, told the attackers she was pregnant (she was not, in fact, pregnant). But they showed no mercy; Moore and Bunch pushed her against the car, and at least one of them anally raped her.

After the anal rape, Bunch threw M.K. to the ground, and he and Moore proceeded to vaginally and orally rape her. While one raped her vaginally, the other would force his penis into her mouth, and they would then switch places. Both were armed during the rapes.

The attack finally ended when Callier pushed Bunch off M.K. Bunch said that he wanted to kill M.K., but Callier would not let him, telling Bunch that he could not kill a pregnant woman. Moore put his gun into M.K.’s mouth and told her, “Since you were so good, I won’t kill you.” Moore warned her that they knew who she was; he threatened to harm her and her family if she told anyone what had happened.

Hysterical, M.K. got back into her car and drove immediately to the home of a relative of her boyfriend, where she had been attending a cookout before leaving to go to work. She arrived back at the party, got out of her car, and ran through the yard, screaming for help. When people came to her aid, she immediately yelled out the license-plate number she had memorized. Based on the license-plate number, police were eventually able to arrest all four people involved in the attack on M.K.

In her testimony at trial, M.K. described the effect of the attack on her life: “[T]hey killed a part of me. They killed a part of my [soul] that I can never get back.”

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