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North Tonawanda rapist sentenced to 25 years to life in prison

Two women raped by Larry G. Saunders urged a judge Wednesday to give him the maximum sentence. They got their wish.

Saunders, 43, of Bryant Street, North Tonawanda, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for his assaults on the two women almost a year apart, both in North Tonawanda.

On July 3, 2015, Police Officer Michael Loncar's bodycam captured video of the disheveled victim and Saunders near a set of railroad tracks off Robinson Street.

Holly E. Sloma, Niagara County first assistant district attorney, said the woman repeatedly told Loncar that Saunders had raped her and tried to kill her by choking her.

Sloma said Loncar heard the woman yelling for help and found her beside the tracks. She called the officer "a hero."

While Saunders was out on bail, he raped another woman in her North Tonawanda home on May 26, 2016.

"I don't want to have to worry about him coming after me or my children," one of the women told County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III. "He was out on bail and he did it again, then he was released on bail again. Thank heaven he didn't do it a third time."

"I never intended on hurting either one of them," Saunders said. "I hope the best for them and their families."

"There are no winners in this case," a representative of the other victim told Murphy. She said Saunders "never takes responsibility for his own actions, and his family always tries to get him out of trouble."

"The people in his corner love him very much," defense attorney Evan Lumley said.

"I don't see a great deal of remorse on your part," Murphy told Saunders.

He noted the jury rejected Saunders' testimony that the women consented to the sexual encounters.

After a three-week trial, a jury convicted Saunders of predatory sexual assault, a crime that covered both attacks. He also was found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual act and second-degree strangulation for the 2015 attack, and he was convicted of first-degree rape and two counts of strangulation for the 2016 attack.

Murphy ordered that if Saunders ever is released from prison, he must serve 20 years under probation-like post-release supervision.

"I think it is very deserving that he receive a life sentence," Sloma said. "We believe he deserves every bit of it."

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