A West Salem woman was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison Monday for beating a woman held captive at her home with a wooden closet rod.
Irish Boyce, 46, and her then-boyfriend Ronnie Lee Jr., 48, were arrested in October 2015 after police discovered a woman was being held against her will, assaulted and raped at Boyce's home on 2100 Marvin Court NW.
The woman was held captive for about six weeks. During that time, she was subjected to days of torture and sexual assault, according to prosecutors.
When the woman emerged from the home, 44 days after she first went there to buy heroin, her head was shaved and her body was bruised and starved.
She later said it felt like a nightmare and feared she would never leave the home alive.
Lee and Boyce were charged with dozens of counts including rape, kidnapping, sodomy and assault.
Boyce pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in 2016 as part of an agreement with the Polk County District Attorney's Office. In exchange for her testimony against Lee, the office agreed to recommend a prison sentence of five years and 10 months in prison with credit for time served.
Boyce testified during Lee's Nov. 14 trial that she was a victim of domestic violence and had abused the woman because she was frightened of Lee.
She and Lee met in June 2015. Boyce had worked as a barber before moving into a quiet, upscale West Salem neighborhood with her husband and becoming a stay-at-home mom.
During her divorce, she began using methamphetamine. The drug use led her to Lee, who dealt methamphetamine and heroin.
Boyle said Lee was funny and kind when they first began dating.
Over the summer of 2015, he moved into her home and their relationship turned violent.
"The first time I tried to argue with him, he body-slammed me and hit me in the face," she said.
Boyce said Lee ordered her to beat the victim, sexually abuse her and keep her captive in the house. When he decided Boyce wasn't punching the woman hard enough, he demanded she beat her with a wooden closet rod.
Boyce said Lee would tire of the sex and turn to violence and drugs. She said he hit the victim in the head with his machete and refused to let her eat or sleep.
As he smoked methamphetamine and stayed up for days, Lee's paranoia worsened. He accused the women of conspiring against him.
She said Lee told her, "If you tell anybody what is going on ... I will kill your family."
Boyce worried about her son, daughter and 18-month-old grandson, whom Lee threatened to attack at a park and slit his throat.
A concerned relative of Boyce's suspecting domestic abuse asked police stop by her home for a welfare check.
By the time Salem police came to her door, she was ready to talk.
"I knew in my heart that things were getting bad. ... If I didn't do something, we would both be dead," Boyce said.
Boyce answered the door and told the officer everything was fine. But she quietly mouthed that she needed help.
The officer walked her down the street where she told him Lee was in the house with a gun and a woman was being held captive.
Boyce and Lee were taken to Polk County jail, where both have remained pending Lee's trial.
Lee said he had sex with the victim but never hurt her. He told police the women were lying to make him look bad.
Following a two-day trial before Polk County Judge Norman Hill, Lee was found guilty of 29 counts, including kidnapping, rape and sodomy.
Hill said Lee's actions demonstrated "a level of depravity, and frankly evil, that is difficult to comprehend."
He sentenced Lee to 105 years and 10 months in prison Nov. 22.
Polk County Judge Monte Campbell sentenced Boyce to five years and 10 months in prison, with credit for time served. She will be eligible for reduced sentencing, work release and alternative incarceration programs. Campbell also sentenced Boyce to three years post-prison supervision.
Her remaining 23 charges were dismissed.