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Judge: Willmar, Minn., man can be sentenced to life for assaulting woman in alley

WILLMAR -- The 51-year-old Willmar man found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman last summer in an alley near the Willmar Eagles Club can be sentenced to life in prison for the crime. District Judge Kathryn N. Smith made the necessary findings ...

Jose Juarez

WILLMAR -- The 51-year-old Willmar man found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman last summer in an alley near the Willmar Eagles Club can be sentenced to life in prison for the crime. District Judge Kathryn N. Smith made the necessary findings for a life sentence to be imposed on Jose Santoya Juarez. Smith's findings were issued Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Juarez will be sentenced Oct. 17.

Smith found Juarez guilty of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree assault and kidnapping after a court trial in early August. The Kandiyohi County Attorney's Office sought a life sentence for Juarez, who has prior convictions for assault and sexual assault.

"We are really happy with this ruling," County Attorney Jenna Fischer said Wednesday. "It's everything we need."

Smith ruled that Juarez's removal of his victim from the back door of the Eagles Club to a narrow alley 209 feet away, plus his previous conviction for sexual assault, constitutes the "heinous element" required by the state statute that allows prosecutors to seek life sentences for dangerous sexual offenders.

Related Topics: CRIME
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