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Woodland man sentenced to nearly a decade in sexual assault burglary

Woodland man sentenced to nearly a decade in sexual assault burglary

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A Woodland man was sentenced to nearly a decade in prison Monday after admitting to burglarizing and sexually assaulting a Kalama woman in 2018.

The 116 month sentence — agreed on by prosecutors and defense attorneys — is the highest possible within the standard sentencing range.

“This is one of those circumstances where the maximum sentence seems relatively lenient,” Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning said in handing down the prison time at the Cowlitz County Jail courtroom.

Joshua Escobedo-Murrillo, 24, pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and indecent liberties in January this year.

Woodland police responded to a burglary in Kalama the morning of Dec. 3, 2018. The victim said she awoke to a man searching through her room.

That man — later determined to be Escobedo-Murrillo — warned her: “Don’t scream. I have a gun and will shoot you” when the victim began to get up, according to court records.

The victim said Escobedo-Murrillo sexually groped her. She screamed, fought back and fled to another room, and got the attention of a neighbor who called 911.

During the struggle with Escobedo-Murrillo, the victim knocked off a headlamp he appeared to be using to search the room. It was sent to the WSP crime lab for DNA evidence processing, which helped identify Escobedo-Murrillo as a suspect. The victim later also identified him in a photo lineup.

Escobedo-Murrillo initially denied the allegations but confessed to entering her home after an officer told him about the photo lineup, DNA and possible fingerprint evidence, according to court documents.

Escobedo-Murrillo has convictions in three prior cases involving burglary, theft, fraud or vehicle prowling.

According to a pre-sentence investigation, Escobedo-Murrillo expressed remorse for the crime and said he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time and was “not in full control of his mental state.” He admitted that he had an addiction and had used methamphetamine almost daily from the age of 16 to when he was arrested.

“Mr. Murrillo repeatedly stated remorse for his actions,” a Department of Corrections officer determined. “(He) appeared to understand the gravity of his crime and the trauma experienced by (the victim.)”

The victim in the case “expressed no discontent” with the agreed sentence, deputy prosecuting attorney Tom Ladouceur said.

However, the 116 months in prison is a “significant reduction” from the sentence he could have received had he been convicted on an additional count of first-degree attempted rape, which he was originally charged with, Ladouceur pointed out.

In that case, Escobedo-Murrillo’s minimum prison sentence would have been 17 years with a 2-year enhancement for burglary with sexual motivation, Ladouceur said.

“This was an extremely terrifying event for the victim,” Ladouceur said during the sentencing.

“I believe that this will be a one-time thing,” a defense attorney for Escobedo-Murrillo said. “He’s certainty prepared to pay for what he did.”

Escobedo-Murrillo declined to make a statement.

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