For Immediate Release - February 23, 2011

Haverhill Man Sentenced To 28-35 Years For Aggravated Rapes

Salem Superior Court Judge John Lu this afternoon sentenced Jose Vega, 36, of 254 Washington Street, Haverhill, to 28-35 years in state prison, after Vega pleaded guilty to four charges of aggravated rape, and three counts of burglary, assault on an occupant.

Vega also pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, one count of assault with intent to commit rape, and two additional counts of burglary, assault on an occupant. On those charges he was placed on probation for 10 years upon his release from state prison.

As conditions of probation, Judge Lu ordered that he register as a sex offender, undergo sex offender treatment, and he will be on a GPS bracelet upon his release. The judge also ordered that, effective immediately, he is to have no contact with his victims.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Melissa Woodard told the court that if the case had gone to trial, the Commonwealth would have proved that between April of 2006 and July of 2007, Vega broke into five different homes, all within a mile of his residence. In three instances, he entered the homes of his victims, held a knife or other sharp object to their throat and digitally raped them.

In four of the instances of burglary, assault on an occupant, DNA evidence tied him to the crime scenes. In a fifth instance, in which he was charged with assault with intent to rape, he was caught by police a short distance from the crime scene, and was identified by the victim.

Vega, who told the court he is a native of the Dominican Republic, and that his true name is Pedro Carlo Soto, was represented by Attorney Denise Regan from the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Prosecutor Woodard lauded the excellent investigative work of Haverhill Police Detective Daniel McDonald and Haverhill Police Sgt. Dana Burrill. She also noted the outstanding work of former Assistant District Attorney Jessica Connors, who previously handled the case, Victim/Witness Advocate Lindsay Shaheen, and thanked Linda Brodette and Ryan Lomasney for their extraordinary administrative support. Additionally she noted the invaluable work of the chemists with the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab in linking and solving these cases. Finally, she also praised Vega's five victims for their courage in ensuring the successful prosecution of this case.

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