‘Most horrific set of facts I’ve heard,’ Former Mt. Holyoke Professor sentenced after assault in 2019


GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mount Holyoke College Professor Rie Hachiyanagi was sentenced after changing her plea to guilty for the nine charges stemming from her assault on a colleague in December 2019.

In court on Wednesday, Judge Flannery explained why he needed time to ponder the differing recommendations from the prosecution and defense, stating that he found the case troubling because the defense presented evidence that Hachiyanagi was a respected peer, talented artist, good friend, and kind person with no criminal record.

Judge Flannery later stated “But on the other hand, I have this defendant who tried to torture to death over four hours someone who wasn’t an enemy, but was a friend.”

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas recommended 10-12 years in state prison following probation for three years with an order to stay away from the victim and wear an ankle monitoring device for the first year as well as a mental health evaluation and counseling.

The recommended sentence that the Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski had recommended was 5-7 years in state prison followed by probation, stating that she had a lack of a prior record and she struggles with anger issues. Kokonowski noted that she had been a model prisoner during her incarceration.

“Professor Savoy is certainly a victim of a horrific crime, but that’s not what I’m going to
remember,” he said. “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.” said Judge Flannery.

Hachiyanagi pleaded guilty to the nine charges on Friday, and on Wednesday Judge Francis Flannery sentenced Hachiyanagi to a 10-12 year prison sentence recommended by Assistant District Attorney Thomas.

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