A man who pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated assault for strangling his ex-girlfriend and using scissors to mutilate her breasts was sentenced Tuesday to 45 years in prison, the maximum sentence possible.
Tony Deval Ledbetter, 46, was arrested in October 2016 when he called 911 after he cut off the nipples of the woman who was pregnant with his child. When police first arrived on the scene, he admitted to the assault but claimed it was in self-defense, reported the Argus Leader.
In August, Ledbetter, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pleaded to the multiple counts of assault.
During the sentencing on Tuesday, the unidentified survivor gave a powerful and chilling statement recounting the assault she endured.
“He told me he was a nice guy," she told the court. "Nice guys don’t do this.”
According to the Argus Leader, the victim spoke directly to Ledbetter, asking, "Do you feel like a man?"
The assault occurred when Ledbetter asked to speak with the victim about their relationship at her apartment before her friend was set to arrive.
According to police, the two began arguing when Ledbetter punched her and slammed her head on the ground. He then tried to stop her screaming by pushing on her throat with his forearm and stuffing a blanket in her mouth.
The victim then fell unconscious. While she was out, he used a pair of scissors to cut off one of her nipples. When she awoke, she saw Ledbetter take the scissors and cut at her other breast. She eventually broke free and went to the hospital, where she learned the unborn baby was in stable condition.
Ledbetter knew she wanted to nurse the child, the survivor said.
During her graphic account, Ledbetter never looked up at her. He did eventually give a statement wherein he apologized and admitted his guilt in the assault.
“I apologize to the court and to [the victim]," Ledbetter said. “I don’t believe in violence. ... It’s hard to fathom this happened. It will never happen again. I don’t seek violence.”
During the hearing, Judge Doug Hoffman shared details of Ledbetter's past arrests, including him breaking into women's homes, damaging their property, vandalizing their cars and using their credit cards.
(Photo: Getty Images)