Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mexican national pleads guilty to raping landlady in Escondido, CA

(Original Post 7-30-08)

Deputy District Attorney Natalie Villaflor accepted a plea agreement with illegal immigrant Victor Navarro on Monday, July 28 for a 2002 attack which left his landlady with severe internal injuries and left Navarro with convictions for sodomy and rape with a foreign object. He faces 8 years at sentencing September 4 for the attack on Tammy Chavez, his landlord, in Escondido.

The victim, Tammy Chavez, said the plea brought her some relief after a long, sometimes lonely battle to bring Navarro to justice."I'm reminded of (the attack) everyday, but now I'm going to try to put it away and remember he's paying for what he did to me," she said.

Navarro, a resident of Mexico who rented a room from Tammy Chavez in her Escondido, CA home, is alleged to have assaulted her on her living room couch the morning of June 17, 2002, according to police files.

Chavez told police she didn't scream for help because she feared the man would harm her daughter and 10-month-old granddaughter sleeping in an adjacent room. The incident began at about 2:30 that morning and ended about 4 a.m. when an alarm clock sounded and the attacker fled, Chavez told police.The case went cold for a while until May 22, 2004, when Navarro was arrested for drunken driving in Orange County. A DNA sample collected due to the arrest matched DNA found in sperm on Chavez's underwear the night of the attack, according to police files.

An arrest warrant was filed June 22, 2006, but it wasn’t until April this year that Navarro was taken into custody. The attack left severe rectal, vaginal, and other internal injuries to Chavez which surgeons and doctors have tried to repair and treat. Navarro will be sentenced September 4, and Chavez plans to give a victim impact statement.

(Update 9-11-08) Navarro was sentenced to 8 years in prison then deportation on September 4 following the rape of Chavez. In the victim impact statement, Chavez called Navarro a "sadistic abusing pervert" and held up a catheter to show how the attack physically damaged her.

"The physical pain you have caused has lasted this last six years and will never go away. I have been in my own prison."

The [DNA] match "corroborates the events that (Chavez) has reported since the rape occurred," wrote now-retired Detective Ron Shankles in the arrest warrant, dated June 22, 2006.

The prolonged attack left Chavez "the most severely injured person I have ever heard of who lived," said Chuck Ryder, a marriage and family counselor who has worked extensively with Chavez and her husband.

In her statement Thursday, Chavez praised Shankles, saying he always believed her and pursued the case vigorously."He got the evidence to get this monster," Chavez said. "My appreciation cannot be expressed in words."

She explained the "small amount of time" Navarro will serve compared with her lifetime of suffering, but said she understood Villaflor was working under sentencing guidelines that, she said, are too light."I think anybody who rapes somebody should get more than eight years," she said.

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