GREENFIELD, Mass. — A 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 the victim’s Leverett home and said she needed emotional support because of a breakup, according to prosecutors. When the homeowner let her in, the defendant bludgeoned her and held her for four hours, taunting her, until the victim convinced Hachiyanagi to summon help, prosecutors said.
Hachiyanagi allegedly told the victim she had loved her for years and the victim should have known her feelings. The defendant is also alleged to have taunted the victim, saying she would be blinded and disfigured before being killed.
In an impact statement shared in court, the victim, who taught geology and environmental studies, said that she suffered “literal torture of body and of mind, not knowing if I would survive the next minute — yet needing to find some way to save my life.”
The victim also said, “She betrayed my trust, invaded my home, and tried to kill me with premeditated violence. The cruelty she wielded with weapons, and expressed in words, was extreme.”
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.
Hachiyanagi began teaching at Mount Holyoke in 2004, and before the attack had taught in the school’s studio art, art history, and Asian studies departments.
Her attorney, Thomas Kokonowski, had recommended a five- to seven-year sentence, and said he respected the judge’s decision.
The Daily Beast contributed to this report.