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JUST IN: Trio bilked elderly investors with phony fish farm scheme, FDLE says

BREAKING: Former Uber driver gets 22-year sentence in rape case


Justice, Gary Kitchings' victim said, would be for the former Uber driver to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping her last year. 

On Wednesday morning, Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx disagreed. She sentenced Kitchings, 58, to a total of 22 years in prison for three counts of sexual battery and another charge of false imprisonment. 

His sentencing comes nearly three months after a jury convicted him of the charges and acquitted him of a fourth sexual battery count after nine hours of deliberation in the case. It surrounded the New York woman's claims that Kitchings raped her when she used the ridesharing app for a ride home from Sunfest. 

The woman, who made a similar rape claim against a man in New York a year before her encounter with Kitchings, said she's been wracked with anxiety ever since the incident that Kitchings described as spontaneous but consensual. 

"I felt it was my responsibility to report it," the woman said. "This is why as hard as this process has been, I did it to protect other women from people like Gary." 

Assistant State Attorneys Marci Rex and Brianna Coakley later echoed the woman's request for a life sentence, asking Marx to reject Assistant Public Defender Stephen Abruzow's request for, at most, the minimum recommended sentence of just over 26 years in prison. 

Arbuzow noted that even that sentence would be tantamount to life for Kitchings, and noted his work with his wife as a foster parent at KidSanctuary in suburban West Palm Beach as one of several reasons the judge should be lenient. 

Kitchings' wife was in the courtroom Wednesday, Arbuzow noted. 

"The whole situation makes her nervous and she doesn't wish to be in front of the cameras," Arbuzow said. 

Marx said her heart went out to the victim and that she was sure she was traumatized, but she considered Kitchings' lack of prior criminal history and contributions to the community in determining the punishment. 

"I don't think a life sentence is appropriate in this case," Marx said.



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