It was a case that sent shock waves through the community and enraged a local sheriff.
Now, the two men responsible will spend the next decade in prison.
Delonte Martistee and Ryan Calhoun were sentenced Friday to 10 years behind bars.
“This was an immoral and wild spring break gathering involving excessive drugs, drinking, and sex,” said Circuit Judge James Fensom. “The sexual act was encouraged by the crowd and also by unbelievably the victim’s boyfriend, but that in no way excuses the conduct of Mr. Martistee and Mr. Calhoun.”
Ryan Calhoun asked the judge for mercy, “Sir as I stand before you I ask for mercy compassion and the lowest possible sentence.”
Delontee Martistee’s mother pleaded with the judge to go easy on her only son.
The prosecution read a letter from the victim’s father, who shook and cried as the video of the assault was played during the trial. It said in part, “Jesus came along and told us to love our enemy and turn the other cheek. I struggle with this because I see my daughter struggling, I see her pain. I see her in deep states of depression. I see the scars that this has left, the indecisiveness, the anger, the lack of self worth.”
The men were convicted in September for a rape that happened during spring break 2015 in Panama City Beach. Video of that incident, which happened in the middle of a large crowd on the beach, infuriated then-Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. It also spurred local politicians to pass a number of new laws aimed at reining in spring break.
“Probably one of the most disgusting, repulsive, sickening things that I have seen this year on Panama City Beach,” McKeithen said of the incident.
Martistee and Calhoun, former students at Troy University, were arrested after that cell phone video surfaced showing an unconscious woman being assaulted on the beach by multiple men.
That video, along with a shooting that injured seven people at a house party, prompted the passing of local laws which imposed new stringent regulations about what could be done during spring break. The new laws caused a large number of college students to stay away and head to other destinations in 2016.
McKeithen made it his mission to get spring break under control. With no major incidents in 2016, the now-retired sheriff told WJHG/WECP back in September that he accomplished what he set out to do.
“I’m pleased with the fact that we didn’t have any of that this year, but I’m very disappointed that we had that in the past,” McKeithen said. “It is not acceptable here in Bay County.”
During sentencing Friday, the prosecution read a letter from the victim’s stepmother that said in part, “Women should not be assaulted because they’re too drunk or too high to stop it…no matter what this is not okay.”
During the trial, the victim testified she took a drink from someone that day and she doesn’t remember much more until the next morning. The victim believes she was drugged and also said she never would’ve given consent to do what happened.
George Kennedy, the victim’s boyfriend who was at one time charged with a crime in relation to the incident but had that charge dropped, testified the victim was stumbling, slurring her words and falling over shortly before the alleged assault. He also testified the victim didn’t seem aware of what was going on during the alleged assault.
However, Calhoun, said the victim came on to him. He says he went with her to a gas station to get Molly, but said he doesn’t sell it. He claimed he was antagonized by police.
When the defense asked Martistee if he felt embarrassed about the incident said, “A little yes and a little no, because the fact that I would feel embarrassed a little bit, but once two people make a mutual decision to do that, I feel like she should’ve enjoyed herself more so I didn’t feel bad at the moment, until after it aired everywhere.”
“I said she was turnt…drunk, having a good time,” said Calhoun. He also said he told police he’d be upset if the victim was his daughter, but he says he’d be upset with her for the way she was acting.
Martistee testified Kennedy was encouraging the situation. He said they didn’t see a reason to stop.
Attorneys for both men say they’re going to appeal the verdict.