Haworth gets 15 years in prison for hired rape of St. Michael man
Julia Haworth, 32, pleaded guilty Nov. 6 to a charge that she contracted with Austin Matthias to sodomize a Saint Michael man because he had not paid money owed Haworth for drugs. She was sentenced last week.
Matthias injured the victim severely in the April 17, 2017, rape in his own home that included punching the victim in the face and making him unconscious, according to witnesses in court. The victim had to be flown out for medical treatment.
Others present during the rape, including Haworth, went in and out of the house while the offense took place. Two small children remained in a bedroom in the house with a sitter as the rape put blood on the floor, according to court documents.
A jury found Matthias guilty on Sept. 13; he is set for sentencing April 17.
Terms of the Haworth’s plea included a 15-year cap on jail time. The guilty plea had to include an aggravator that would make the sentence more severe because of the seriousness of the offense and the cruelty.
The jury also found Matthias guilty of the aggravators that included the crime being the worst example of a crime in that classification, and that the crime had shown cruelty on all counts.
According to Matthias, who took the stand in his September trial, Haworth had used Matthias as her enforcer for about five years to beat customers who did not pay for drugs and alcohol she sold them.
Haworth’s trial on sex assault charges filed in April 2017 were scheduled to begin in Unalakleet Nov. 13. The State of Alaska through the district attorney had charged Haworth on Sex Assault 1, Penetration without Consent, (Unclassified Felony) and Sex Assault 1, Penetration without Consent (Class A Felony). The Sex Assault 1, Penetration without Consent (Unclassified Felony) was later amended to Contact without Consent (Class C Felony). Haworth pleaded not guilty to all charges.
However, on Nov. 6, Haworth appeared in court to plead guilty to Sex Assault 2 with an aggravator, in a change of plea agreement with the district attorney’s office. Upon arrest in June 2017, Haworth resided in custody at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, then later in Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River.
Haworth appeared before Nome Second District Criminal Superior Court Judge Romano D. DiBenedetto March 26 for sentencing.
Haworth’s offense was cruel, Thomas Jamgochian, assistant district attorney told the court in the sentencing hearing.
“The conduct here is, from the state’s perspective, deliberate and cruel in a nature uncommonly seen in his courthouse,” Jamgochian said. “The conduct here was a deliberate attempt to humiliate someone to promote a business model.”
This is a unique case, from the state’s point of view, akin to torturing someone, Jamgochian told the court. “She was inflicting gratuitous violence on another person to send a message to the community that she was someone not to be trifled with.”
Even conceding that Haworth’s criminal history was limited, she did not come to court with an unblemished record. She had a prior charge of theft of a seal pelt trailing her and an assault conviction against a correctional officer, Jamgochian said. She had completed many programs in prison. Even if the court found her prospects good for rehabilitation, and she would not complete the offense again, the need for community condemnation according to sentencing criteria a crime as serious as this one demands a serious sentence, Jamgochian continued.
“That’s why the state is asking for 25 years with 10 years suspended and 10 years’ probation,” Jamgochian declared.
The prosecution was trying to construct a model that the offense was to send a message to the community, but that had problems, Robert Campbell, Haworth’s attorney said.
“That’s not how it fell out; that’s not the purpose here. Like so many of our cases in this courthouse and across the Arctic, it is a case of one bad decision, followed by another bad decision, followed by another bad decision. So we do not have a lot of forethought. This is a reaction case,” Campbell told the court. “This is an act of revenge—that’s not to justify it, but to combat prosecution’s allegation of motive for Ms. Haworth’s behavior,” Campbell said. “The victim in this case owed Ms. Haworth a considerable amount of money. Then instead of paying back the money, the victim took money from his mother to buy more alcohol. This double offense where he owed Ms. Haworth money and took money from his mom cascaded into bad decision making involving alcohol and marijuana.”
Haworth had done a lot of work at Hiland to rehabilitate herself and prepare for a new career, Campbell continued, working for self betterment and attaining certifications—“what we look for in all of our defendants,” he said.
Haworth had accomplished something that’s not common. She was a leader in her community. “Her development, her rehabilitation is critical because she does have leadership skills, she has charisma,” Campbell said. “If she didn’t have those, then what happened wouldn’t have happened.”
Campbell asked the court to consider that earlier in the process of her case, she had pleaded guilty in an earlier agreement where she would have served 10 years with five years suspended. Campbell asked the court to consider her children, whose childhood she would miss.
When the opportunity came, Haworth elected to speak on her behalf.
“I want the court to know I would not be any threat to the victim and his family,” she said. “When I get out I will live in Nikiski.
“I have no intent to harm anybody, I have done my best to rehabilitate myself,” she continued. “I see the errors; I do not plan to do this again. I have children I would like to have considered.
“I have hurt a lot of people. I have a lot to deal with. I have been going to classes to help me deal with it.”
The judge thanked Haworth for her statement and began his sentencing remarks. “I don’t think I have to tell Norton Sound Second District communities that sexual assault is wrong,” diBenedetto said. “I think that is addressed, but I have to address the remainder of the [sentencing] criteria.
“Ms. Haworth does not have a substantial criminal background, that is true. That would bode toward the prospect of rehabilitation,” DiBenedetto said. “But fashioning the sentence here, there was a stipulation that this case was the most serious way to commit the crime that was pleaded to—the solicitation of sexual abuse in the second degree. As a sentencing judge, by my experience, I have to say I’ve seen debts that have to be paid. Drug debt, alcohol debt in rural Alaska, the usual way I’ve seen it repaid when someone does something like that is someone gets killed. I’ve never seen it in my career someone to get raped to repay a financial debt.
“The harm caused this victim cannot be understated. You took his humanity, his dignity; some would say they would rather lose their life than have those taken from them. I have never seen anything quite this serious before,” DiBenedetto said. “I cannot ignore the gravity of what happened here, I really can’t. I don’t propose a sentence out of malice.
“Based on the totality of my knowledge of the case, the seriousness of the offense, the circumstances of the event, and the extent to which you harmed another human being, I’m going to have to go along with the state’s recommendation—25 years, 10 years suspended, 10 years probation,” the judge said.
“Ms. Haworth, I wish the best for your family,” the judge said. “I hope when you are through this, nothing like this happens again. I have no choice but to impose this sentence. I am sorry.”
Haworth will also need to register as a sex offender.