MARTINEZ -- In an emotionally charged courtroom that heard from a father who said his daughter no longer hugs him and a mother who said she did the best she could in raising her boys, a Contra Costa judge on Friday sentenced West County half-brothers to life in prison for the kidnap and brutal rape of an East Bay woman on Valentine's Day 2010.

Terming the behavior of the defendants as "utterly depraved" and "unconscionable in a civilized society," Judge John W. Kennedy sentenced Derrick Ware to 100 years to life and Robert McNeally to 82 years to life. The two men, with their cousin Dameon Spragans, offered an East Bay woman and her male companion a ride home from San Francisco after a night of barhopping in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2010.

Instead, they drove the pair to West County, forcing the male companion out of McNeally's truck in Pinole, then driving to San Pablo, where on a dark and quiet street they took turns sexually assaulting the woman before leaving her bloody and naked on the asphalt.

Spragans was sentenced to 42 years after accepting a plea deal in April. McNeally, 32, of Richmond, and Ware, 29, of San Pablo, were each convicted on four felony counts in May.

In a letter read by prosecutor Chad Mahalich, the victim, who was not in court, wrote about her ongoing therapy and fear. "I was a girl who loved all and trusted all," she wrote. "Now I am deathly afraid of being alone at 27. I pray (the defendants) find guilt and sadness in their hearts."


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The victim's father spoke directly to the court, struggling to maintain his composure.

"My daughter never feared being alone, never feared darkness, loved everyone, especially her father," said the man, who declined to state his name for the record. "Since that day, my daughter won't hug me. I have to work to get a hug from her. That will probably be the case for as long as I live. And it's just wrong."

Attorneys for the defendants made impassioned pleas for discretion on behalf of their clients. Howard Williams portrayed Ware as a man who, before the incident, was "a normal guy living a normal, honest life." Christopher Martin went so far as to call McNeally "my friend" and decried "these absurd sentences, multiple life sentences ... written for sub-humans, which (McNeally) is not."

Ware and McNeally spoke as well, apologizing to the victim and her family, both noting their lives changed as well because of what they characterized as an impulsive act fueled by alcohol.

Mahalich fired back.

"I'm a little shocked by some of these comments," the prosecutor said. "This case is disgusting, the conduct is disgusting. The absolute maximum (sentence) isn't enough."

Ware interrupted: "What is enough?"

Finally, the defendants' mother spoke. She declined to state her name because she works for the county. She apologized to the victim and extolled her sons as "good kids."

"I raised them right," she said. "But I can't control their drinking. I did the best I could with five boys."

Kennedy, in explaining his sentencing decision, challenged the assertion that the crime was impulsive, stating that the attack went on for close to an hour, long enough for the defendants to consider their actions.

"It must have seemed like an eternity for Jane Doe that would never end," the judge said. "Or would end in her death."

Both Williams and Martin said they would file an appeal.

Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.