NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A Belchertown man was found guilty in connection with several assault charges including rape and strangulation.

According to Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Spokesperson Laurie Loisel, 42-year-old Erik L. Wheeler was found guilty of rape, strangulation, suffocation, and two counts of assault and battery stemming from assaults on the same victim in 2018 and 2019. The jury convicted Wheeler of the charges after a 10-day trial in Hampshire Superior Court on Monday.

Wheeler was sentenced to five to seven years in state prison on the rape charge and imposed concurrent sentences of two years in the house of correction on charges of strangulation and assault and battery.

On the assault and battery and suffocation charges, Wheeler was sentenced to three years on probation following his term of incarceration with conditions:

  • Stay away from and have no contact with the victim
  • Refrain from using alcohol and other drugs
  • Comply with random testing
  • Complete a batterer’s treatment program

Wheeler was found not guilty on two counts of rape, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and strangulation.

In arguing for a state prison sentence, Assistant District Attorney Sandra Staub said: “There are few crimes considered more heinous, more abhorrent, more atrocious than rape. Rape strips a person of all power and control they have over their body and their life and instills a deep sense of emptiness, fear, anxiety, and depression in its victim. It takes away someone’s ability to trust others, the world, and themselves. It affects every single aspect of their life. The impact is not short, but devastatingly long, and oftentimes, permanent.”