James Hataway Sentenced To Life, Apologizes To Victim


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla.,None - James Hataway, who is the key suspect in two high-profile disappearances, was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder on Monday. A jury found Hataway guilty of first-degree attempted murder last month.

He's been convicted for the attempted murder of Rachel Clarke. He was also found guilty on charges including burglary, robbery and false imprisonment.

Wearing a jail jumpsuit and sporting a beard, James Hataway sat in court looking very different than he did at his trial, and as his victim looked on, he apologized.

"Her injuries were my fault and I do apologize for what happened. I know that I did not try to kill her, but I am sorry for what did occur," Hataway said in court Monday.

Last month, Hataway was convicted of attempted murder for attacking Clarke in 2008. She showed jurors how he tried to break her neck after she gave him a ride home from a party.

On Monday, a series of Hataway's friends tried to convince the judge that's he's not a monster.

"I've seen women commit acts of violence against him and he's 100 percent gentleman in reply to it," said Hataway's friend, Dallas White.

That testimony drew gasps from family and friends of Tracey Ocasio and Chris George. Hataway is the main suspect in their disappearances.

As the judge sentenced him to life for his crimes against Clarke, they cried.

"If there's any comfort is that he's behind bars and he won't destroy another family like he destroyed our family,' said Tracy's father, Joe Ocasio.

The Ocasio's also expressed their gratitude to Clarke.

"Justice is served for them as well. Hopefully we can find Chris and Tracy," said Clarke.

But for now, the families left the court relieved that Hataway will be locked up for life.

"What's your message to him?" WFTV reporter Nancy Alvarez asked Clarke.

"Have fun," Clarke replied. Hataway has not been charged in connection with the disappearances of Ocasio and George.

Surveillance video shows Hataway leaving the Tap Room in Metrowest with Ocasio, and after that, she was never seen again.

Investigator's think they may have found George's remains in a swamp in Apopka and they are still awaiting test results to confirm that.

Previous Stories: April 2, 2011: James Hataway Found Guilty Of Attempted Murder March 30, 2011: Witness: Hataway Was Fascinated With Neck-Breaking March 30, 2011: Alleged Victim Says Hataway Tried To Kill Her March 30, 2011: Testimony Begins In Hataway Attempted Murder Trial March 29, 2011: Jury Seated For Hataway Attempted Murder Trial March 29, 2011: Hataway Defense Demands Expanded Juror Pool March 29, 2011: Jury Selection Continues In Hataway Trial March 25, 2011: Key Witness Will Have Face Hidden For Hataway Trial March 22, 2011: 911 Call, Documents Released In Hataway Case March 18, 2011: Defense Attorney: Hataway Is Ready For Trial March 18, 2011: State: Witness Said Hataway Liked Choking Women