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Decatur man convicted of beating, raping ex-girlfriend gets 20 years in prison
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Decatur man convicted of beating, raping ex-girlfriend gets 20 years in prison

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DECATUR — Blake A. Lunardi, the Decatur man convicted of beating and raping his ex-girlfriend, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday afternoon.

A jury trial in December convicted the 25-year-old man of aggravated criminal sexual assault while wielding a knife and separate counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated unlawful restraint.

Lunardi was sentenced to 18 years on the sexual assault charge, which must be served at 85%. Macon County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Griffith also sentenced him to two years each on the remaining charges, ordering those sentences to run concurrent with each other but consecutive to the 18-year sentence. Lunardi will also have to register for life as a sex offender.

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His victim said she was still too traumatized to appear in court in the wake of the Aug. 5, 2018 attack that took place in her home. A letter from her was read to the judge: “...Someone I had trusted and loved for a long period of time did the worst thing imaginable to me; I never saw it coming,” she wrote.

“If I could describe my thoughts in the moments that Blake was hurting me, and doing those awful things to me, it was pure shock. I truly thought he was going to kill me. I had never seen his eyes be so serious in my entire life ... I was literally scared for my life.”

But while saying she could not yet bring herself to forgive him, the victim, who said she was treated for depression after the attack, hoped Lunardi could get mental health treatment. “I care that he gets help,” she said. “I want him to get help for whatever is going on inside of his head.”

Pleading for mercy, defense counsel Todd Ringel referred to a 2015 court case that saw Lunardi plead guilty to reckless homicide and receive a sentence of probation. Ringel said that accident had “messed him up” more than had been realized and said Lunardi needed mental health treatment.

He said Lunardi had also been a binge drinker and alcohol had been a strong factor in causing the assault on his ex-girlfriend. Ringel cited letters written in support of Lunardi and indicated court benches filled with his family and friends. “I think everyone here in attendance bolsters the view that Blake can do some good with his life,” Ringel added.

Lunardi made a brief statement to the court, saying he did not agree with the jury verdict and asking for a minimum sentence. But he also apologized to the victim. “I am sorry from the bottom of my heart ...” he said.

Special prosecutor Kate Kurtz had called for a tough sentence and cited a pre-sentence evaluation that said Lunardi was in denial about having issues controlling his anger. The facts, she said, painted a different picture.

“Not only does this defendant get physical, he gets violent and he sexually assaulted somebody that completely trusted him and cared about him,” Kurtz said.

Passing the sentence, Griffith said Lunardi’s victim will suffer the effects of the attack “for the balance of her life,” and his punishment must reflect his conviction on “gravely serious criminal charges.” But the judge also said he had no doubt Lunardi suffered from mental health issues and recommended him for substance abuse treatment.


Mug shots from the Herald & Review newsroom

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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