Twelve years after she was strangled and raped, she can still remember her first thought as it happened: “Oh my God, this is how I’m going to die.”
That was how the survivor opened her victim impact statement in Suffolk Superior Court Wednesday before Judge Janet L. Sanders sentenced her attacker, Alejandro Done, 49, to 18 to 22 years in prison, plus five years of supervised release, for separate assaults on three women in Boston in 2006, 2007, and 2010.
The victim in the first assault said her horrific experience still affects her today and she has trouble talking about what happened on July 29, 2006, when she was attacked as she walked alone near the JFK/UMass MBTA station.
Many of her relatives and friends still did not know what she went through, she said. She only told her mother because her mother was convinced that her then-boyfriend had beaten her.
Therapy sessions helped, she said, but some people were less sympathetic, telling her she did something wrong, wanted attention, or encouraged the rapist.
“It makes me sick to think that we have not been able to move past this type of thinking,” she told the court. “And that is why I don’t tell my story.”
The survivor is married now and has a daughter. However, she said she still has flashbacks when she’s driving to work or getting ready in the morning. She has trouble controlling her anger and is worried about alienating her husband and scaring her daughter, she said.
“He is not safe on the streets; he will do this again,” she said of her assailant. “I pay the price every day of my life for this crime, and so should he.”
The victim in the July 29, 2007, attack then took the stand. She said she was a college student at the time, working two jobs and living in the “city of my dreams.” But as she walked home alone from a friend’s birthday party at night, she was accosted by Done near Beacon and Fairfield streets. He took her to the Esplanade, put a knife to her throat, and told her to “comply or die,” she said.
She said she, too, sometimes think others blame her for the incident.
“Even now I am worried about being judged for actions and my attire that one night,” she said.
After the attack, the victim took a break from school, quit both of her jobs, and left Boston. She said she is still afraid of walking alone, walking near strangers, and of the night. For 10 years, she’d lay awake at night, scared of seeing an outline of a man in her window.
“He took away confidence, my trust in people, my sense of security, my freedom, my self-worth, and my dignity, all in one night,” she said.
Done avoided eye contact with the survivors as they read their statements.
“The thing that really breaks my heart is that, even today, they somehow feel that they bear some responsibility,” Sanders said of the victims. “There’s only one person here who is responsible, and that is the defendant who has committed despicable acts.”
Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said a third woman was attacked near Preble Circle in South Boston in 2010. A fourth woman Done was suspected of raping had returned to her native country and was not available to participate in the prosecution, Wark said.
Done was already serving a 10- to 12-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in Middlesex Superior Court in 2015 to raping a woman in Cambridge who had mistaken him for her Uber driver. DNA evidence from that case led to his arrest for the Boston case, authorities said.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Amy Martin recommended a 25- to 30-year sentence with 10 years of probation and for the sentence to run consecutively with Done’s Middlesex sentence.
Defense attorney Timothy Bradl said he accepted the 18- to 22-year sentence, even though he thought it was “a sharp, upward departure” from sentencing guidelines.