Aspen rapist to serve 40
June 18, 2002
The man convicted of brutally raping an Aspen woman in a downtown alley last summer was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison on Monday.
Marcos Garcia-Flores, 23, will serve consecutive prison terms for the July 2001 crime – 24 years to life for sexual assault and 16 years for first-degree assault. Pitkin County District Court Judge J.E. DeVilbiss also ordered Garcia-Flores to pay $5,900 in restitution to make up for support services offered to his victim.
Garcia-Flores was arrested 36 hours after a young woman reported being raped in an alley behind Little Annie’s Eating House. The victim said she was walking home after local bars had closed for the evening when she was dragged into the alley, beaten severely and raped.
Witnesses claimed Garcia-Flores had followed the victim from bar to bar on the night of the attack, staring at her from across the room but never approaching her. The victim identified Garcia-Flores as her attacker after his arrest and identified him again during his three-day jury trial in April.
A host of evidence – including DNA collected from the victim later identified as Garcia-Flores’ sperm – led an eight-man, four-woman jury to convict the defendant on both charges. He appeared in court Monday for the first time since his conviction.
Monday’s sentencing hearing began with a statement from the 22-year-old victim in the case, who tearfully asked DeVilbiss to impose the full sentence for both charges.
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“[Any] sentence that you could give could never really give back what was taken from me,” she said. “In fairness, because I have to deal with this for the rest of my life … he should have to pay for it for the rest of his.”
Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills used words like “hunted” and “trapped” when describing how Garcia-Flores treated his victim the night of the rape. Considering the fact that the victim was a complete stranger to her attacker, Wills questioned how Garcia-Flores would behave if released from prison.
“That goes miles to point out that the public safety issue in this case is so important,” he said. “Mr. Garcia-Flores should never walk the streets again.”
Wills said Garcia-Flores faced a maximum sentence of life for sexual assault and 32 years for the first-degree assault charge. However, the prosecutor went on to request the sentence recommended by the probation department – a combined 40 years for both charges.
Public defender Jim Conway spoke only briefly on his client’s behalf, requesting the minimum sentence for both charges – a combination of 26 years. Conway said Garcia-Flores’ wife and child relied on his financial support and would need him to return to Mexico to find work – and suspending sentences on both criminal charges would allow Garcia-Flores to support his family.
“I ask you to suspend both sentences to allow Mr. Garcia to return to Mexico,” he said.
Garcia-Flores was deported from the United States on three separate occasions – once in April 1998 and twice the following year, DeVilbiss reported. The judge said that, considering Garcia-Flores’ track record with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, returning him to Mexico would not suffice as punishment in this particular case.
“[The opinion] that anything would be accomplished by deporting Mr. Garcia-Flores is not one that appeals to me strongly,” DeVilbiss said.
The judge listed a number of factors in the case, including verbal threats made to the victim on the night of the attack and Garcia-Flores’ apparent substance abuse problem, as grounds for the defendant’s severe sentencing.
The amount of violence demonstrated in the attack – evident in the severe beating of the victim – was also a determining factor, DeVilbiss said.