Rie Hachiyanagi, 50, a former professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, changed her pleas Friday to guilty on nine charges stemming from a Dec. 23, 2019 attack that left her colleague with permanent injuries, assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas announced.
During a hearing Wednesday, Franklin County Superior Court Francis Flannery said he took several days to mull over the charging decision in what he described as an extremely “troubling case,” adding, “This is one of the most horrific set of facts I have ever heard,” the Greenfield Recorder reported.
“I have this defendant who tried to torture to death over four hours someone who wasn’t an enemy, but was a friend,” Flannery said, according to WWLP.
Prosecutors had outlined how Hachiyanagi knocked on the door of the home of Lauret Savoy, a fellow college professor, claiming to be in need of emotional support over a breakup the day before Christmas Eve. When Savoy let her in, Hachiyanagi attacked her, bludgeoning and taunting her in a four-hour torture session, prosecutors said.
Thomas described the “random savagery” carried out by Hachiyanagi, who used a position of trust to enter Savoy’s home. The victim finally managed to convince Hachiyanagi to summon help. The attack left her with long-lasting emotional trauma and severe physical trauma, some of which is permanent.
“Professor Savoy is certainly a victim of a horrific crime, but that’s not what I’m going to remember,” Flannery said, according to WWLP. “I’m going to remember that she had the presence of mind and the courage to convince her attacker not to kill her. As her body was failing her, she used her mind to save herself. That’s remarkable.”