SOUTH BEND — Having already admitted he brutally raped two women, there was little for Mwamba Ruffin to say today as he awaited his fate in court.
Ruffin, originally from Gary, pleaded guilty last month to two July 2006 rapes — one at a hotel in Roseland, another at a Clay Township home just 12 hours later.
In both cases, the prosecution said today, Ruffin attacked the women, threatening to kill them unless they did what he demanded.
In the hotel incident, Ruffin acted as if he were a hotel maintenance person, entering the room after saying he needed to check the toilet. At the home, the victim reported feeling uneasy about Ruffin when he knocked on her door seeking help, so she sent him to a home nearby. Moments later, he broke through the sliding glass door.
Ruffin eventually was charged with the crime after analysis of DNA collected at the scene connected him to both rapes; by that time, however, he was already in custody in Illinois, awaiting trial for a different sexual assault.
In 2007, Ruffin was convicted of sexual assault in Illinois and sentenced to 45 years in prison; it wasn’t until 2012 that he was transported back to Indiana to face charges here.
Today, the prosecution asked that Ruffin be sentenced to two consecutive terms of 45 years in prison. Ruffin’s defense, conceding his past criminal history, asked for 40 years — and pointed toward Ruffin’s past issues with drug abuse, dating to the age 14, as a reason to mitigate the lengthy sentence.
“Is there anything you want to say?” St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Roland Chamblee asked Ruffin. “No,” Ruffin replied, before changing his mind and asking the judge how long it would take until he was returned to the prison in Illinois.
“I’m sure our people here want you out of here as fast as possible,” Chamblee replied.
Chamblee, agreeing with the state, sentenced Ruffin to two consecutive 45-year sentences, the maximum allowed under the law — a sentence that will begin only after his 45-year sentence in Illinois ends.
Effectively, Chamblee’s sentence means Ruffin, now 35, is likely to die in custody.
Staff writer Dave Stephens: