Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Man sentenced to 45 years for rape, home invasion

Mexican national pleaded guilty to 2010 rape, kidnapping of 62-year-old woman

Geoff Grammer | The New Mexican




A 62-year-old woman recounted in detail Wednesday afternoon how a 29-year-old man bound, beat, raped and terrorized her in her Santa Fe home for four hours in August 2010.

In the end, state District Judge Michael Vigil sentenced the man — Jesus Nicanor Gonzalez-Jiminez, a Mexican national — to 45 years in prison.

"You're about the strongest lady I've ever met," state District Judge Michael Vigil told the female victim at the sentencing hearing. "This was one of the most vicious attacks that I've ever see, and I'm just thankful you're still here with us."

"Thank you, your honor," the woman replied.

Gonzalez-Jiminez accepted a plea agreement from state prosecutors earlier this month in which five of the charges were dropped. He pleaded guilty to three offenses and received 18 years for criminal sexual penetration, 18 years for kidnapping and nine years for aggravated burglary. Vigil ruled the sentences would run consecutively, rather than concurrently as is more common.

Because the criminal sexual penetration and the kidnapping charges are classified as serious violent offenses, Vigil said Gonzalez-Jiminez will have to serve a minimum of 85 percent of those 36 years. He is eligible for as much as 50 percent off for good behavior on the burglary charge.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Hill said she was requesting a minimum of 36 years in prison — the time associated with the two most brutal charges of criminal sexual penetration and kidnapping.

Public defender Joseph Campbell had asked for a nine-year prison sentence.

"She is definitely not the same person," longtime family friend Terry Rostro said as he described the bloody scene he encountered after the attack at the woman's home off Agua Fría Street on Aug. 20, 2010.

Rostro said the woman's injuries "were down to the skull" and she has had some memory issues ever since.

But none of those memory problems affected her ability to give what Vigil and Santa Fe County Sheriff's Corporal Diego Lucero described as almost remarkable detail about the events of that night.

Included in her account was the woman's vivid description of the lime-green ostrich-skin boots and matching belt Gonzalez-Jiminez was wearing the night of the attack. Lucero later found an identical pair of boots in Gonzalez-Jiminez's home during the investigation.

That was just one of many pieces of information Lucero said the woman was able to provide that made the case easier to solve. Another was her ability to engage the man in conversation throughout the attack to get him to speak. When he did, according to police reports, Gonzalez-Jiminez not only threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone, he also threatened to take her to his home in Mexico.

"This one definitely stood out," Lucero told Vigil, calling it one of the most heinous crimes he's ever investigated.

The 62-year-old victim made it a point to pull a reporter aside after Wednesday's hearing and emphasize how pleased she was with the work of the District Attorney's Office and especially the work of Lucero.

"He's been my guardian angel," the woman said. "Now I am going to make him a big, home-cooked Mexican dinner for all this."

During the sentencing, Gonzalez-Jiminez listened to an English-to-Spanish translation of court proceedings through a pair of head phones.

The interpreter also read a letter to the court from Gonzalez-Jiminez. "I can ask her for her forgiveness, although I know I don't deserve it," he said. "I am not asking that you free me from punishment, I am only asking for mercy."

In the letter, Gonzalez-Jiminez also asked Vigil to read a passage from the Bible (Romans 7:7) about how one can run from laws on Earth, but one "cannot escape the hand of God." He said God knows he is remorseful for his actions.

Gonzalez-Jiminez didn't appear too remorseful in September 2010, however, when he was mistakenly released from the county jail because of a mix-up in paperwork that had officials from the District Attorney's Office and the Santa Fe County Magistrate Court pointing fingers at each other. Lucero said he found Gonzalez-Jiminez loading a moving truck outside his Santa Fe home and immediately sought, and received, an arrest warrant, putting the man back in jail.

According to an arrest warrant filed in August 2010 by Lucero, Gonzalez-Jiminez broke into the woman's home through a bedroom window. The woman told police she was in bed when he climbed on her and "demanded to have sex."

Investigators said the woman reported that Gonzalez-Jiminez had approached her in her yard earlier in the day, asking to do work around her house. After she said she had no work for him, he then suggested that a woman her age "should jump at the opportunity to date a young man like him," according to the arrest warrant.

He returned later in the night and sexually assaulted her. She sustained a gash on her head when she hit a coffee table trying to get away from him. Gonzalez-Jiminez tied her up and stole $21, her cellphone and her car before fleeing.

Asked Friday if she felt Gonzalez-Jiminez was truly remorseful for his actions, the woman had a quick answer.

"No," she said. "I think he's sorry he got caught."

Contact Geoff Grammer at 986-3076 or ggrammer@sfnewmexican.com. Read his blog at santafecrime.com.



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