COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Cook County judge on Tuesday sentenced a man to 110 years in prison for kidnapping and raping two girls and two young women at gunpoint in 2009.
"He deserves such a large sentence [because] what he did was so heinous and unforgiveable," Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Timothy O'Brien said of Jimmie Smith.
Smith, now 42, refused to attend his sentencing hearing Tuesday at a north suburban Skokie courthouse. The repeat felon appeared in court only briefly, flanked by four sheriff's deputies in tactical gear.
He did not speak on his behalf.
According to authorities, Smith abducted his female victims — ages 14, 14, 21 and 22 — while the young women were having a sleepover in Englewood in May 2009 and brought them to an abandoned garage in suburban Harvey.
Smith raped each victim, raped one with an object, and choked and smothered at least two victims until they passed out. He then left them, bound by rope and tape, inside the garage. The victims eventually escaped and reported the crime at a nearby business.
Since his initial arrest in May 2009, Smith has been accused of stabbing his public defender in the neck with a shank; trying to hire hit men to kill a prosecutor and a judge assigned to his case; having weapons inside Cook County Jail, where he's been held without bail pending trial since 2009; and filming his own talk show inside the jail on a contraband laptop.
The case was delayed many times as Smith cycled through judges and public defenders before finally deciding to defend himself.
In a surprise move in March 2016, Smith pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault — just moments before his trial was slated to finally begin before O'Brien.
In a written statement Tuesday, one of Smith's victims said her "life was forever changed by a pedophile" who awoke her from bed and raped her on May 9, 2009, when she was just 14.
"Not only did he steal my innocence and my ability to trust," the survivor said, "he stole my virginity."
She called Smith a heartless monster and "spineless coward" who tortured her and and her fellow survivors over a two-day period — forcing the victims to go to the bathroom on a "filthy garage floor" like animals.
"If given the opportunity," the woman wrote in a statement that was read aloud to O'Brien, "there is no doubt [Smith] will continue to stalk, hunt ... and rape another child."
Another victim said in a letter she has been afraid of men, afraid of the dark and afraid to be alone since the 2009 attack. She recently quit a job that required her to work a night shift, she said, and has been regularly taunted by Smith with calls and letters from jail.
"For eight years," she said, "I have lived with feelings of shame and embarrassment. ... I am constantly afraid someone will break into my home and attack me."
Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Michelle Papa pointed out that Smith has previously been convicted of attempted murder, aggravated carjacking and hiding a fugitive — as well as four additional misdemeanors.
Defense attorney Daniel Coyne said Smith was conceived when his parents were 14 years old. His mother, who was 15 at the time of Smith's birth, regularly abused Smith; she surrendered the boy to his grandmother when he was eight years old.
Smith's father was never around, Coyne said.
Smith never completed elementary school and has been diagnosed with multiple learning disorders. He needed special attention and special-education classes, Coyne said, but received little to no help at home.
According to Coyne, Smith has a 20-year-old child. Smith has never held a job or completed any job training. At a 2015 hearing, Smith told O'Brien he'd suffered numerous head injuries over the years.
The judge on Tuesday could've sentenced Smith to a maximum of 120 years in prison. In court, O'Brien said he knocked off 10 years because he believes Smith showed genuine remorse by not forcing his victims to testify at a trial.
"As we are vividly reminded by the words of [Smith's] victims," O'Brien said Tuesday, rape "is one of the most egregious [crimes] in our society because of the continued victimization and suffering."
Rape victims "live life filled with nightmares and constant fears — even inside their own homes," he continued. "Besides the humiliation and stripping of one's dignity, their lives will never be the same."
Smith will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, or 93 ½ years, before he is eligible for parole, O'Brien said. Smith still has several pending criminal cases for his alleged jail behavior.