A man who pleaded guilty to armed rape and armed kidnapping in 1992 is seeking an early release from prison under Washington, D.C., law.
Joshua D. Haggins was 16 years old when he and a friend abducted two women at gunpoint and raped them overnight in a Maryland motel room. He and his friend sexually assaulted the women repeatedly and forced them to dig their own graves, according to the Washington Post. (RELATED: Oregon Man Released From Prison After Just Two Years For Torture And Kidnapping Charged With Attempted Murder)
D. C. man who raped three women when he was 16 seeks early release from prison after 31 years. His victims want him to remain in prison. https://t.co/U8za2J7Zxe
— Keith L. Alexander (@keithlalexander) February 1, 2023
Haggins and his friend were arrested after Haggins raped a third woman, and both pleaded guilty to crimes in Maryland and D.C., including armed rape and armed kidnapping. He was sentenced to 34 years to life in D.C. and 30 years in a separate case in Maryland.
Under a D.C. law known as the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (IRAA), Haggins petitioned a D.C. Superior Court judge for early release in 2022.
A D.C. judge will hear arguments about Haggins’ early release Thursday. His attorneys will argue that Haggins, now 47, is no longer addicted to drugs and alcohol as evidence of reform in prison, the Post reported.
“Mr. Haggins, who is now 47 years old and has spent over 30 years of his life incarcerated, has overwhelmingly demonstrated his maturity and rehabilitation,” said Jonathan Anderson, Haggins’ lawyer. “He has voluntarily completed a years-long sex offender treatment program, voluntarily served as a mentor in the program, earned the praise of [board of parole] staff for his excellent conduct and been assessed by the BOP as having a ‘minimum’ risk of recidivism.”
The IRAA was enacted in 2016 to allow those who committed crimes below the age of 18 and spent 15 years in prison to petition for early release. It was expanded in 2020 for those who were as old as 24 when they committed their crimes.
Courts must consider the defendant’s personal history, commitment to reform, victim statements and other evidence when deciding whether to reduce the defendant’s prison sentence. The law has led to 135 defendants being released early, of whom 28 have been rearrested, according to the Post.
One of the victims, Kristen Hubbard, said she does not believe Haggins should be released from prison. “It’s not fair at all that we have to be here, all these years later, reliving that nightmare because he now says he’s a changed person,” she said. “I still have to live with the pain he caused me, every day,” she told the Post.
Hubbard was an 18-year-old freshman at George Mason University at the time of the crime. “I thought I was going to die. We thought we were going to die,” Hubbard told the outlet.
Haggins will have to undergo a similar process in Maryland in order to be released from prison. The state enacted a program similar to the IRAA in 2021, under which 28 defendants have been released early.