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December 9, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Prosecutor: Long sentence in Shoreline rape case

Jesse Gonzales

Prosecutors will seek a minimum 27-year prison sentence for a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in her home in Shoreline last Sunday.

Jesse R. Gonzales was charged today with first-degree rape and first-degree burglary with sexual motivation. He is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

Because Gonzales is charged with first-degree rape and the alleged victim is under 15 years old, prosecutors have filed a special allegation that will allow them to seek an exceptionally long sentence, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said at a news conference today.

Satterberg said prosecutors and the public are often frustrated by sentencing guidelines that seem too lenient.

But in this case, he said, state law provides “an adequate hammer.”

If convicted as charged, Gonzales, also known as Jesse R. Guerten, will face a minimum of 27 years to life in prison.

“A person who breaks into a home and rapes a small child has forfeited his right to live in a free society,” Satterberg said. “There can be no mitigating circumstances, no excuses. There should only be a prison cell and a life sentence.”

Gonzales, 38, was arrested on Wednesday after a palm print lifted from a glass-surfaced vanity in the girl’s room was compared to 350,000 handprints on file and matched to one provided by Gonzales after a 2006 arrest for driving with a suspended license. Police say he is a neighbor of the victim.

The King County Regional Automated Fingerprint Identification System was updated in March to match palm prints as well as fingerprints, according to Regional AFIS manager Carol Gillespie.

Without the update, she and Satterberg said, it’s unclear whether Gonzales would have been captured.

Satterberg said it’s certain the case would not have been resolved so quickly.

Gonzales, who has a lengthy criminal history that includes five felony convictions, is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 22.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Burglary, rape, Shoreline

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