Friday, October 16, 2009

Man sentenced to life in prison for hammer attack of "girlfriend"

A man who was convicted of raping and then beating his now ex-girlfriend with a hammer was sentenced to life in prison yesterday. Fifty-three year old Walter Cordell was convicted of six counts, including attempted murder, rape, and making criminal threats.

Cordell broke up with his girlfriend on May 30, 2008, but he wanted (and got) one last sexual encounter from her. Afterwards, Cordell said he had a "surprise" for her - which turned out to be a beating with a two pound hammer. Cordell then proceeded to rape the victim for hours, leaving her battered, bleeding, and nude on the floor. The perp also took cell phone pictures of the victim in that condition.

The woman fled to her family's restaraunt, where she got medical attention.  Deputy District Attorney Lindsey Krause stated that injuried included a broken neck, a broken arm, and deep cuts to the back of her head. Cordell was arrested the next day after a 12 hour standoff.

Defense attorney Megan Marcotte had argued during the trial that Cordell holed up in the house because he was afraid of being sent back to prison. Cordell, a parolee, had served time for a conviction eight years earlier stemming from a similar incident.

The victim of the earlier crime attended yesterday's sentencing hearing. She trembled as she told the judge how she had suffered and even contemplated suicide since Dec. 20, 2000, when Cordell hit her repeatedly in the head with a wooden dowel.

“It has now been almost nine years since I was attacked by a man I considered my best friend,” she said. She described the “odd” expression Cordell had on his face that day when he gave her a Christmas present, a $30 watch in a Cartier box.

“What he took from me had no price,” she said.

San Diego Superior Court Judge John Einhorn  gave Cordell life because of his position of trust over the victim, the victim's small frame, and the “high degree of cruelty and viciousness” of the attack. The now 46 year old victim said that “I am not the same person that I was,” she said, adding that she still has nightmares about the attack. “I don't trust men like I used to.” 

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