Demetrius Santrell Ballinger, who was convicted of rape and attempted murder following an August 2012 hostage standoff at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury, has been sentenced to 36 years in prison.
Ballinger on Monday, Oct. 7, was sentenced on one count of attempted second-degree murder and four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for the armed rape of four teenage girls.
“Very seldom do we see a case where so many innocents are victimized in such a cruel manner,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in a statement. “The severity of this sentence recognizes that and we are pleased to finally be able to bring closure to the victims of these heinous acts.”
In court on Monday, Ballinger asked the judge for a life sentence, according to the Pioneer Press.
“No, I can’t do that,” Judge Ellen Maas responded, according to the newspaper. “This is pretty much the same thing.”
Ballinger, 26, of Stillwater, was initially charged with 27 felonies stemming from the Aug. 31 hostage standoff at the motel.
During the incident, Ballinger shot at Mark Henderson, a man who tried to escape and was shot and killed by police during the incident. The officers involved were later cleared.
“We are pleased to be able to bring some closure for the victims of this defendant’s heinous acts. While he will be serving a huge amount of time in prison, it cannot begin to recompense the harm he has caused,” Orput said after Ballinger pleaded guilty to five charges in June.
A Washington County team eventually got Ballinger to release the hostages after a four-hour standoff, and Woodbury Det. Chris Rheault was later honored for his efforts.
The incident led to public outcry in Woodbury regarding criminal activity at the motel, and police have since been working with Red Roof Inn management.
Ballinger will likely spend 24 years in prison, the Pioneer Press reported, and if he ever violates his probation he will be sent back to prison for life.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Siv Yurichuk.
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