An Olney man was given the maximum sentence of 60 years in prison Thursday morning for raping an 8-year-old girl who was later found dead in 2016.
Glenn Ramey, 54, had pleaded guilty Jan. 25 to a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault in the rape of Sabrina Stauffenberg. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a murder charge filed against him, which alleged that Ramey suffocated the girl.
Judge Larry Dunn said he considered Ramey's criminal history, intellectual ability and likelihood to repeat a similar crime when giving the sentence.
"This is a case that cried out for the maximum sentence," Dunn said at the sentencing hearing Thursday, where about 30 people, including Sabrina's family and close friends, were gathered in the Richland County court room. "Sabrina should only have had to worry about what was for dinner the next day on Thanksgiving, the Disney princesses she loved, and the only monster she should have worried about were animated monsters."
Instead, Dunn said, Sabrina was sexually assaulted by Ramey.
"Someone took a lot more than 60 years away from her," he said.
Stauffenberg's death the night before Thanksgiving in 2016 shook the town of Olney, located in Richland County.
The 8-year-old girl had last been seen on Nov. 23, 2016, as she waited on her porch for a church bus, talking on the phone with her grandma. Stauffenberg's body was found later that night behind a building on the south side of Olney.
Victim-impact statements read Thursday detailed how family and friends have been affected by Stauffenberg's death.
"No more school visits, sewing, crafting, cleaning," a letter from Sabrina's grandmother Susan Vaughn said. "Every day is filled with sadness. Sometimes I think I hear her laughter or footsteps."
Stauffenberg was a third-grader at Richland County Elementary School at the time of her death. Family friend Denise Haley told the BND in 2016 that Sabrina loved to play outside and had just learned how to ride a bike. She was a Girl Scout and enjoyed playing T-ball, according to her obituary.
“She was just a very loving little girl. She trusted everybody,” Haley said at the time.
Stauffenberg's family members said they were happy to see justice finally served.
"It's overwhelming about Glenn Ramey getting 60 years," Glenn Stauffenberg, Sabrina's older brother, said. "It's an absolutely overwhelming feeling knowing my little sister can absolutely have peace now."
Richland County State's Attorney Brad Vaughn said the family did not want the trial to go into the "violent details" about Sabrina's death, which impacted the decision not to pursue a murder charge. Nevertheless, he said, "Ramey got what was fair."
"He's gonna be 105 before he gets out," he said. "There were issues with court evidence that made it easier to offer them less and get the same result. We don't have the death penalty. I'm sure there a lot of people who fantasize about doing something to the man."
Ramey also spoke at the sentencing.
"I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I'm sorry for everything," he said.
Ramey also mentioned another person who he claimed told him to go to the industrial warehouse property where Sabrina was raped and her body was found.
Dunn said if someone else was involved in Sabrina's rape and death, Ramey "should have let police know who was involved long before today."
Ramey was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and predatory criminal sexual assault on Nov. 27, 2106, and has been held in the Richland County Jail on $10 million bail ever since. His public defender, Jim Lane, raised doubt of Ramey’s mental competency to stand trial, but Ramey was evaluated and found fit.
In court Thursday, Vaughn held up a frame that held several photos of Sabrina for the judge to see. He said he still struggles to look at photos of the 8-year-old.
"If ever there was a case on this planet that justifies the maximum, it is this one," he said. "She had barely started her life. The joy she brought and the expectations of a life of pleasure, those are all gone."
Ramey must serve 85 percent of his sentence, which includes the 481 days of jail time he has accumulated since he was arrested in 2016. The sentence means he will serve another 49 years, Dunn said.
"That will make him 104 and a half years old," Dunn said. "For his safety and care, and for the protections of little girls like Sabrina, I think that's appropriate."
According to court documents, Ramey has five previous felonies in multiple Illinois counties, including burglary, forgery and theft. Ramey also was accused of rape in 2014 by an Olney woman, but rape charges were never filed against Ramey in connection with that allegation.
Ramey has 30 days from his sentencing to appeal his case.