Rifle rapist sentenced to 32 years to life
A district court judge Friday sentenced Nathaniel Trujillo, a 28-year-old Rifle man convicted of sex assault with a deadly weapon, to 32 years to life in prison.
On a count of sexual assault by overcoming a victim’s will with a deadly weapon, which falls in the second-most serious felony classification, he received a 22 years to life “indeterminate” sentence.
The other 10 years of his sentence came from his remaining felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with a deadly weapon, a class 1 drug felony, felony menacing with a deadly weapon and felony possession of a controlled substance.
The victim reported that Trujillo raped her while holding a gun at a party at his house in June 2016.
“Throughout the night, Trujillo possessed, used and handed out drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine, and simultaneously was in possession of one or two guns,” the district attorney wrote in a statement upon Trujillo’s conviction. “During the early morning hours, Trujillo raped the victim while holding a gun, and later that morning, forced the victim, at gunpoint, to undress because Trujillo believed the victim had stolen money and/or drugs.”
Trujillo never acknowledged full responsibility for his actions, in the end claiming that he didn’t remember the events of that night because he was so high on methamphetamine, said Deputy District Attorney Sarah Nordgaard. The defendant also self-reported having done meth daily since he was 19, she said.
Here was a man high on meth, holding a gun, demanding that she get undressed, touch his penis and have sex with him, the deputy district attorney said. “Your honor, he held a gun and raped her,” said Nordgaard.
The victim was not in court for the sentencing hearing Friday. Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett said she decided not to attend to avoid emotional and psychological harm. However, Barrett did read a letter the victim wrote.
“I will struggle with the pain of Nathaniel’s actions for the rest of my life,” she wrote. This assault “shook the very foundation of my life,” she wrote, and since then she has suffered panic attacks, social anxiety, financial instability, and complete lack of trust for new people. The victim wrote that she has undergone many months of therapy to come to terms with what happened to her.
Finally, speaking to Judge John Neiley, Trujillo said he is not the monster that the prosecution had painted him as, and he asked Neiley to give him a sentence that would allow him to be in his children’s and family’s lives. Trujillo described himself as a decent man who works a regular 9-to-5 job, who is a loving father and role model for his siblings — but who made a bad decision.
“The facts of this case are particularly disturbing” — a horrible mixture of guns, drugs, violence and sex, Neiley said before announcing the sentence.
Trujillo will have to register as a sex offender and he will be barred from contact with children, including his own. The judge also found he fits the definition of a sexually violent predator, a designation that carries more stringent registration requirements, such as public notice when such a person moves into a community.
As Judge Neiley noted, this was a hard fought case, a case involving a horrific fact pattern that ultimately changed the course of the victim’s and the defendant’s lives, Barrett said after the sentencing. “We are satisfied with the sentence the court ultimately imposed, as it should have the deterrent effect of hopefully preventing crimes like this from occurring in the future.”
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A Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins mashup will host its grand opening at 700 Taugenbaugh Blvd. in Rifle on Friday morning. The opening will begin at around 11 a.m.