A former Hamline University student and athlete convicted of raping a fellow student in her dorm room after a night of drinking was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 13 years in prison.

Ramsey County District Judge George Stephenson sentenced Pierce Gerald Heston, 25, for the May 2016 assault as families of the victim and defendant sat in the St. Paul courtroom watching and crying.

A jury convicted Heston of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct in November.

Heston’s public defender had asked for no prison time for Heston, who at one time had aspired to be a lawyer, but Stephenson said prison was appropriate. Stephenson said he wasn’t sure if Heston’s acknowledgment of guilt was sincere.

Heston read a letter apologizing to the victim.

“I did sexually assault her. I figured she wanted to sleep with me because I wanted to sleep with her,” Heston said minutes before sentencing.

The victim’s sister spoke on her behalf saying: “She deserves someone to be held accountable for her pain.”

The sentence falls within Minnesota sentencing guidelines. With good behavior, Heston is expected to serve a little more than eight years in prison and the rest on supervised release.