In November 2010, a woman walking home from a barbecue in Belleville had the misfortune of meeting Artarius Whales and his friends on the street. A man accompanied her for safety's sake, but that didn't deter the random, vicious attack that followed.
Whales and his friends beat the couple, then dragged the woman to a secluded area where they sexually assaulted her.
Fast forward three years. Whales, now 21, recently pleaded guilty and no doubt was hoping for leniency when he appeared before St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic last week. Instead Baricevic sentenced him to 30 years in prison, of which he will have to serve 85 percent.
It's a harsh sentence, but well-deserved given the circumstances. Not only does the punishment fit this horrific crime, but it sends a powerful message to other thugs who would commit similar random acts of violence.
Criminals often don't think much beyond the moment, but the threat of three decades in prison should make at least some would-be thugs think before they act. Who would want to spend most of his adult life in prison for a spur-of-the-moment attack on strangers?