Art professor gets up to 12 years for attack on colleague

Prosecutors asked for a sentence of 10 to 12 years

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A Mount Holyoke College art professor who pleaded guilty to using a rock, a fire poker and garden shears in a four-hour attack on a colleague that left the victim with permanent injuries has been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

Rie Hachiyanagi, 50, a professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin Superior Court, five days after pleading guilty to nine charges in connection with the December 2019 attack, including three counts of armed assault with intent to murder a person over 60.

Hachiyanagi went to colleague Lauret Savoy’s Leverett home and said she needed emotional support because of a breakup, according to prosecutors. When the Black professor let her in, the defendant bludgeoned her and held her for four hours, taunting her, until Savoy convinced Hachiyanagi to summon help, prosecutors said.

Judge Francis Flannery said while the attack was “horrific,” the defandant was by all accounts talented, respected by her peers and had no prior criminal record.

This Feb. 19, 2020 photo shows Rie Hachiyanagi, a professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, in the Franklin County Superior Court in Greenfield, Mass. The college art professor who pleaded guilty to using a rock, a fire poker and garden shears in a four-hour attack on a colleague that left the victim with permanent injuries has been sentenced to up to 12 years in prison. (Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen/The Republican via AP)/The Republican via AP)

Savory, in an impact statement, said in court that she suffered “literal torture of body and of mind, not knowing if I would survive the next minute.”

Prosecutor Matthew Thomas asked for a sentence of 10 to 12 years. Defense attorney Thomas Kokonowski recommended five to seven years.

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