Two former Temple University police officers have been ordered to spend decades behind bars for their roles in the 2016 beating death of a 24-year-old woman in the Germantown home the three shared.
Aaron Wright, 49, and Marquis Robinson, 43, had fatally bound and beaten Wright's girlfriend, Joyce Quaweay, as she lay face-down and naked on a weight bench in their kitchen.
Common Pleas Court Judge Diana Anhalt on Friday sentenced Wright to 60½ to 141 years and Robinson to 55 to 130 years in state prison.
Anhalt, after a two-day nonjury trial, on May 2 found the two men guilty of all charges including third-degree murder, conspiracy, and related offenses in Quaweay's death. She also convicted them of aggravated assault and related offenses for the beating of a then-10-year-old girl.
During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey described the two men as controlling and physically abusive of the women and girls who lived with them, who were regularly beaten for "not following the rules."
Lightsey said the two men created a "degrading, diabolical torture chamber" in their home on the 4600 block of Greene Street. On July 29, 2016, the day Quaweay was killed, the two men had bound her at her wrists and ankles on a weight bench in their home, where the two children she had with Wright also lived and where other children also stayed.
Using a police baton, the two men repeatedly beat Quaweay, according to testimony at the trial by a 12-year-old girl. The girl, who was 10 in July 2016, said she and her younger sister, then 6, stayed with Wright when their mother, Wright's ex-girlfriend, worked at night.
The 12-year-old also testified that she had been beaten and handcuffed by the two men and had seen Robinson's girlfriend being beaten.
The victim's mother, Jackey Wea of Providence, R.I., where Quaweay was born, attended Friday's hearing. She said Monday that she was happy with the sentences and believed that justice was served.
Wea, who is from Liberia, said she asked Wright during her victim-impact statement how he could make her daughter suffer so much. "He put his head down when I was talking," she said Monday.
She said her daughter had moved to Philadelphia when she was 15 and stayed with an aunt. About two weeks before her daughter died, Wea visited Quaweay and Wright in their home for a few hours, but had no indication that her daughter was being abused, she said. She also recalled that she told Wright on Friday that during that visit, he "didn't tell me anything."
"How can you be evil to take my daughter away from me?" she said she told Wright at the hearing.
Wright's attorney, James Berardinelli, and Robinson's attorney, Gary Server, said Monday that their clients expressed remorse and could be rehabilitated, and that this had been their first arrest.
Wright had joined Temple's police force in 1989 and was forced to resign in 2012, according to Zulma Rosario, who at the time was a former Temple police union representative and who still has ties to the union.
A Temple spokesperson has declined to discuss the circumstances of Wright's resignation. Officials with the union have declined to comment or could not be reached. Robinson joined the force in 2006 and was fired after being charged with murder, the university spokesperson has said.