For two days last year, Rebecca Mercado’s husband punched her with his fists, beat her with a metal broom handle, and pummeled her with a piece of wood until she passed out on the kitchen floor, says the Chicago Tribune. When police rescued Mercado, 26, from what she describes as hours of brutal torture, her lips were swollen and cracked, her arms and legs bruised and she had a hemorrhaging internal sore stretching from her side to her back. Even one of her toes was fractured and throbbing. Erick Mercado-Hernandez, 29, was sentenced to 4½ years in prison for the beating.
Mercado now is lobbying for tougher sentencing when battery involves torture. “This guy had an abusive and malignant heart to have continually inflicted suffering, knowing that the children are witnessing this,” said prosecutor Attorney James Glasgow. Northwestern University law Prof. Albert Alschuler said a statute that calls for more severe punishment in cases such as Mercado’s likely would face little opposition. “Everybody wants to pick out a crime that has horrified people and go to the legislature and get heavy penalties and get political points for it,” he said. The maximum punishment in Illinois for aggravated battery is 5 years in prison. Glasgow wants to add a provision that if torture is involved, prosecutors can seek 6 to 30 years of jail time.