Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ex-soldier sentenced to 11 years to life in rapes of two women

A former soldier whose fellow servicemen are in Iraq will be serving at least 11 years in a Washington state prison for raping two women.  Nathan Ryan Smith, 31, plead guilty in March to 1 count of 2nd degree rape, another count of attempted 2nd degree rape, and 1st degree arson. He was a former cavalry scout for the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Prosecutors said he bound the women and choked them into unconsciousness before sexually assaulting one and attempting to do so to the other on separate occasions in January 2009.

The second woman managed to escape Smith's home despite being bound and gagged and notified police. Smith set fire to his house before fleeing to Texas, where he was later captured. He apologized to the women before being sentencing, saying he hopes the pain he caused them does not endure.

He also apologized to his fellow troops, saying "They're in Iraq right now, which is where I should be."

Wayne Fricke, Smith's defense attorney, requested a minimum of 9 1/4 years, saying that his client served his country honorably before the rapes. Assistant prosecutor Sven Nelson requested 12 1/4 years, saying that shocking one of the victims with a jumper cable connected to car batteries was "off the charts" brutality.

Superior Court Judge James Orlando agreed with the prosecution about the brutality, but not the minimum sentence, saying Smith's conduct exceeded what was necessary to prove rape. "I am still stunned, Mr. Smith, by what you did. You exceeded what a rape is. You are nowhere near deserving of a low-end sentence."

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