A Washington man will spend less than three years in prison after being convicted of raping a teen girl as she lay dying from a drug overdose, even sending lewd pictures of her to friends.
"It's a joke," Gina Pierson told KOMO-TV regarding the sentence for her daughter Alyssa Noceda's rapist. "Usually people who do stuff like this don't get away with a slap on the wrist."
Brian Varela, 20, was sentenced Thursday to two years and 10 months in jail after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter, third-degree rape and unlawful disposal of human remains in a plea deal reached in February.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese said she was unable to sentence Varela to a longer prison term because of state sentencing guidelines for someone with no prior record.
Krese said she was "outraged" by the inadequacy of the sentence but wasn't left with any option, according to The Herald.
"I am not sure the Legislature really contemplated something like this," she said, according to the paper.
According to authorities, Noceda, who was 18 at the time, had come to a party at Varela's mobile home and was in his bedroom when she snorted crushed pills, which were later determined to be a mix of fentanyl and alprazolam, and some liquid THC. She collapsed within a minute of mixing the two, but police said Varela failed to call for help or offer any kind of aid.
Instead, he took semi-nude photos of her and texted his friends "LOL, I think she od'd, still breathing," the Associated Press reports.
One friend allegedly texted back: "Bro, you killed her," according to The Herald.
The next day he left her lifeless body to go to work at a Dairy Queen, where he told a coworker that he didn't know if she was still alive when he had sex with her.
Varela reportedly claimed he had committed the sexual assault "to pass the time," and then spent the rest of the night playing an online video game as Noceda still lay in his room, the local newspaper reports.
Someone he told about the incident at work later contacted authorities and police arrested him after discovering Noceda's body in his home stuffed into a plastic crate, days after her death.
He had planned to bury her with onions to reduce the odor, the AP reports. He also used the dead teen's thumb print to gain access to her phone and send messages to make it look as though she had decided to run away.
Before the judge handed down the sentence on Thursday, Varela was given a chance to address the court.
"I'm sorry for my foolish actions. Whatever I get is what I deserve," he said, according to KOMO.
But Noceda's family was outraged by the sentence and said Varela had showed little regard for the value of human life.
"You might as well let him walk free with that kind of time," Rachelle Palmer, Noceda's aunt, said.
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