Augusta: Family of teen convicted of rape, assault pleas for leniency
Story by Chris Graham
The family of a Greenville teen convicted in June of the abduction and rape of his 15-year-old former girlfriend has launched an Internet petition to plea for leniency in his upcoming sentencing.
“Our hope is that anyone with sons will feel that something like this could very easily happen to their children and want to help,” said Amy Drumheller, a friend of the family of Andrew Fender, 17, who was found guilty of abduction, rape and assault and battery for the Dec. 15 incident that lawyers for both the prosecution and defense at the trial characterized as a case of young love gone awry.
Augusta County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wood has the option of sentencing Fender to either an adult or juvenile-detention facility. Drumheller said the family hopes that Wood will realize that a long sentence in an adult facility “will ruin Andrew’s chances of a future, and that it would be more productive to show leniency so that when he gets out he will be able to move past this and make a good life for himself.”
According to testimony at the trial, Fender and the 15-year-old began a consensual sexual encounter that turned violent when his former girlfriend rebuffed Fender’s suggestion that they run away and get married, and after Fender got enraged upon finding the number of another male on her cell phone. The victim testified at the trial that Fender chased her down the steet, knocked her to the ground and kicked her in the ribs and head before raping her.
Defense witnesses included one of the victim’s school classmates who said she overheard the victim say that the rape had never taken place and another teen who identified herself as a close friend of the victim who said the victim had sent her a series of text messages before the trial indicating that the incident “didn’t seem” like rape at the time, but that “that’s what the cops said.”
The Internet petition in the Fender case can be accessed online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pleasehelpandrew/