He raped them

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One by one, letters were read aloud in a crowded courtroom Monday from parents whose children were victimized by Demetrius Santreell Ballinger when he took hostages at a Woodbury motel.

Ballinger appeared in court to be sentenced for raping four teenage girls and for shooting at a friend who attempted to flee.

The parents' letters, read into the record by attorneys, spoke of pain, terror and anger.

One mother described her daughter as "an emotional shipwreck" who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and continues to have panic attacks.

Another mother said she'd seen the "innocence gone from my daughter's eyes."

One by one, the letters urged the court to put Ballinger behind bars so he couldn't hurt anyone again.

The family of Mark Henderson, who was killed during the melee, also submitted a letter, telling Ballinger: "We continue to pray for your soul."

Washington County District Court Judge Ellen Maas sentenced Ballinger, 26, of Stillwater to three consecutive 12-year terms, as well as concurrent terms of 30 years and about 18 years. Of the total sentence of 36 years in prison, he will likely spend 24 years in custody.

Maas also ordered a lifetime conditional release requirement, saying, "He will never be left unsupervised" and if he ever violates his probation, he'll be sent back to prison for the rest of his life.

Ballinger pleaded guilty in June to four counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of attempted murder. As part of a plea deal, 22 other charges were dismissed.

The charges stem from an incident at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury last year.

According to a criminal complaint, Ballinger was in the hotel room with 11 other people -- including three 16-year-old girls and one 15-year-old girl -- in the early morning hours of Aug. 31, 2012. He reportedly pulled out a gun when a female snubbed him.

He ordered everyone to hand over their phones and held them hostage in the room and assaulted the girls as police surrounded the building.