SPOKANE — The leader of a sadomasochism ring whose members kidnapped and raped Japanese college students was sentenced to 26 years in prison yesterday.
Edmund F. Ball, 40, received one more year on his sentence than his accomplice received last month from Spokane County Superior Judge Linda Tompkins.
Ball was a leader of the Spokane Power Exchange, a sadomasochism group. His accomplices contended that Ball masterminded the rapes and abductions of the Japanese college students.
"But for Mr. Ball, this incident would not have occurred," said Kevin Curtis, an attorney for Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, the Spokane branch of a Japanese women's university based near Kobe.
Ball pleaded guilty May 25 to three counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of witness intimidation stemming from the abductions of three Mukogawa students last Nov. 11.
Earlier this month, Ball tried to withdraw his guilty pleas, contending he was threatened and coerced into making the pleas.
Ball contended co-defendant David Dailey had made threats against his daughter, and that his earlier attorneys had not adequately explained his rights.
Tompkins rejected those arguments, saying Ball had failed to produce evidence to corroborate his claims.
Had Ball gone to trial, he faced a possible life sentence if convicted, Deputy Prosecutor Larry Steinmetz said.
In July, Tompkins sentenced Dailey, 38, to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape and assault charges in two separate attacks last fall.
A third defendant, Lana Vickery, pleaded guilty in March to single counts of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape. She cooperated with law-enforcement officers and was sentenced in June to nearly 16 years in prison.
The guilty pleas by all three defendants meant the students did not have to return from Japan to testify at trials.
Vickery told investigators the Japanese students were targeted because it was believed they would be too ashamed to report the sexual assaults to authorities.
Dailey and Vickery were also charged in an Oct. 28 incident in which two Japanese students attending nearby Eastern Washington University were abducted and allegedly shocked with a stun gun. Both of those students escaped their captors.
All five of the students traveled to Seattle in May to give depositions.