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Crime How a Mass. Professor Survived Colleague's '4-Hour Torture Session' and Convinced Her to Call 911

00:15  23 october  2021
00:15  23 october  2021 Source:   people.com

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On the night of Dec. 23, 2019, Lauret Savoy, a professor at the prestigious Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., welcomed a nightmare into her home.

Mount Holyoke College (2) Rie Hachiyanagi and Lauret Savoy © Provided by People Mount Holyoke College (2) Rie Hachiyanagi and Lauret Savoy

According to a police report obtained by the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Savoy's colleague Rie Hachiyanagi showed up at Savoy's home saying she wanted to "talk about her feelings."

As soon as she stepped inside, Hachiyanagi, 50, began hitting Savoy with a rock, a fire poker and garden shears for four torturous hours.

As she endured the horrific attack, Savoy came up with a strategy to save her own life. According to the police report, she told Hachiyanagi that she had the same feelings towards her. Then she managed to convince her attacker to call 911 for medical help.

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Four hours after the attack began, Hachiyanagi called for help, saying she found Savoy "in a pool of blood," "barely breathing," and "semi-conscious and with a head injury," according to the report.

She told the dispatcher that she saw signs of a struggle, but police found no signs of an intruder. Hachiyanagi told police she was covered in blood because she had been holding her friend, local station WWLP reports.

Savoy was rushed to a local hospital with broken bones in her nose and eye area and numerous lacerations and puncture wounds on her head and face, according to the report.

Police arrested Hachiyanagi on multiple charges. Although she originally claimed her innocence, she pleaded guilty in Franklin Superior Court last week to nine charges related to the attack. The charges included three counts of armed assault with intent to murder a person over 60, mayhem, and multiple assault counts.

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History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Mount Holyoke College © Provided by People History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Mount Holyoke College

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In court on Wednesday, Savoy addressed how she survived the attack.

"For four hours I experienced literal torture of body and of mind, not knowing if I would survive the next minute — yet needing to find some way to save my life," she told the court. "The emotional, physical, financial, and professional impacts of this crime have been huge and they continue."

Calling the attack one of the "most horrific set of facts I've heard," Judge Francis Flannery said, according to a release from the Northwestern District Attorney's office, "Professor Savoy is certainly a victim of a horrific crime, but that's not what I'm going to remember."

Rie Hachiyanagi and Lauret Savoy © Mount Holyoke College (2) Rie Hachiyanagi and Lauret Savoy

"I'm going to remember that she had the presence of mind and the courage to convince her attacker not to kill her," he said. "As her body was failing her, she used her mind to save herself. That's remarkable."

Hachiyanagi's attorney declined PEOPLE's request for comment on Wednesday's sentencing.

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