National News

Ellenwood man convicted of "torture chamber" rape sentenced to life in prison

Posted September 8

— Michael Hamilton, the Ellenwood man convicted of raping his wife while holding her captive for nine hours, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.

Hamilton, 56, was found guilty of rape, aggravated sodomy, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and simple battery on Aug. 18. He was acquitted of one count of aggravated assault.

Prior to sentencing Hamilton Thursday, Judge Arch McGarity heard a statement from Hamilton's wife. She recounted a turbulent relationship and told the judge of the physical and emotional pain she's endured since the September 2014 incident.

"It has been three years," she told the judge. "I still remember that day. It will always haunt me."

During Hamilton's trial, she recalled a harrowing nine-hour ordeal, during which she was sexually assaulted with a gun held to her head and a sword to her throat. Audio recordings of the attack were played for the jury.

"He tried to make me believe that he was great and I was nothing," she said. "It was like being in a torture chamber with a stranger."

The woman said she drew strength from God, and "now I have the scars to remind me of how strong I have become." She asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence for Hamilton's crimes.

Hamilton, a former Marine, was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.

McGarity denied Hamilton's friends and family the opportunity to speak on his behalf prior to imposing the life sentence with the possibility of parole. As for Hamilton, he had one thing to tell the judge:

"The Lord be my witness that the sentence would be set at the lowest, and I am innocent."

"Well, a jury of 12 of your peers has said otherwise," McGarity replied.

Hamilton was led away to await transfer to a state prison, turning around to tell his family he loved them before deputies escorted him out.

District Attorney Darius Pattillo said at the time of Hamilton's conviction that the jury's verdict "shows our community will not tolerate violent and sexual abuse, even between family members."

"This brings some closure to a horrific chapter in this victim's life," Pattillo said.

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