Convicted rapist Buckley sentenced to 34 years; calls his trial 'a sham'

gkocher1@herald-leader.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Convicted rapist John Calvin Buckley IV was sentenced Thursday to 34 years in prison, but not before calling his 2012 trial "a sham."

"I should have just let the commonwealth lynch me," Buckley said while reading a statement in Fayette Circuit Court.

Buckley said he "will not beg for mercy," but he questioned a judicial system in which Mark Adam Cave, the Lexington man convicted of stabbing his mother to death and hiding her body in trash container, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Buckley, 30, escaped from the circuit courthouse last year during a break while being tried on rape and sodomy charges. Buckley cut off an ankle monitoring bracelet that tracked his movement while he was out of jail on bond and fled. He was captured in May in Wyoming after a 10-month nationwide manhunt.

The jury recommended a total of 20 years in prison, but Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark, using his discretion, sentenced Buckley to 30 years on those charges.

Buckley also pleaded guilty Thursday to bail-jumping and tampering with a personal monitoring device. Clark accepted the commonwealth's recommendations of three years in prison for the bail-jumping and one year on the tampering count, for an additional four years.

Buckley's statement reiterated his opinion and that of his family that Lexington police and the Fayette commonwealth's attorney's office conspired to prosecute him maliciously.

The jury found Buckley guilty of raping an ex-girlfriend on May 29, 2010. The Herald-Leader typically does not identify victims of sexual abuse.

"Never at any time did I or would I cross the threshold of a woman's right to say no," Buckley said. The victim sat in court as Buckley said she was "a willing pawn" of prosecutors and police.

Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said he wasn't surprised by Buckley's statement.

"We've heard it all before," Larson said after the sentencing. "We listen, we monitor all of his telephone calls (from jail). He has said the same thing on the telephone calls with his father."

Buckley is a decorated Army veteran who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his statement, he said he was among "the first uniformed soldiers to step foot into the war on terror."

"I took up that mantle gladly and with my whole heart because I believed in the tenets on which this nation was founded," Buckley said. "I believed in our justice system. I believed in the Constitution."

Buckley acknowledged in court that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and said he has a traumatic brain injury.

Defense attorney Mac Adams said in court that he served in combat with Buckley in Afghanistan.

"I personally do not believe he did this," Adams said, referring to the charges of rape and sodomy. "He has maintained he did not do this."

Before Buckley was arrested, he was the CEO of a company that helped veterans reintegrate into society, Adams said. Buckley also was going to school to get a bachelor's degree, Adams said.

"He was doing positive things," Adams said. "This is not the total of his life. I know him to be a good person."

Buckley's father, John C. Buckley III, said in a statement after the sentencing that his son "is not the monster portrayed in this case. He is not a rapist.

"For our family, our only hope is to appeal this decidedly unjust result," the elder Buckley said.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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