Thursday, November 26, 2009

Drifter sentenced to 34 to life for rape of hiker

A rapist who attacked a hiker on Stinson Beach, CA, was sentenced to 34 years to life in prison Tuesday. The sexual attack occured in August 2005, when Terry Ray Hawes, 46, met her at a market. Hawes followed her back to her campsite where he assaulted and detained her. He was arrested August 31 at a Santa Cruz homeless shelter.

In December 2005, Hawes was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and sent to Atascadero State Hospital for treatment. In June 2006, Judge Kelly Simmons declared him stable enough to be tried and set a trial date.

In December 2006, a jury ruled that Hawes was still mentally incompetent, and criminal proceedings were suspended again. Hawes was sent back to the mental hospital for further treatment.

After a trial earlier this year, a jury convicted him of assault to commit rape, attempted rape, criminal threats, and other counts but was deadlocked 11-1 on a count of penetration with a foreign object causing great bodily injury. He was retried on the penetration charge and was convicted by the second jury.

Deputy District Attorney Aicha Mievis said that

"The victim suffered immeasurable fear and dehumanizing brutality. He beat her, knocked her unconscious, threatened to rape her dead or alive and alluded to dismembering her. He then assaulted her sexually several times throughout the night. But amazingly she survived, and today justice was served for her. She is a hero. She showed extraordinary courage, not only during her nightmare at the hands of the defendant but in having to testify in two separate jury trials."

The victim, now 32, who was not at the sentencing, said in a phone interview that "It's nice to know I can finally put it behind me. I was just hoping he wouldn't be able to hurt anyone else. As long as he's off the streets, I'm happy."

Jon Rankin, Hawes' defense attorney, said that "I think it's unfortunate that someone with mental issues that were never fully addressed was ultimately a subject of the criminal justice system," Rankin said. "Unfortunately, there's no place between the streets and prison these days."

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