Man who sexually assaulted 18-year-old girl who was dying of drug overdose gets less than three years
A man who fed drugs to a high school student before raping her, ultimately resulting in her death from an overdose, was sentenced to less than three years in prison
As part of a plea deal in the February death of 18-year-old Alyssa Noceda, 20-year-old Brian Varela pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree rape, and unlawful disposal of remains. According to the Daily Herald, Varela could not be sentenced for more than two years and 10 months behind bars because it was the maximum prison time permitted for someone with no prior criminal record, Superior Court Judge Linda Krese said on Thursday.
Krese told the court she has seen car theft cases with more serious penalties after admitting that she was "surprised, even outraged" by the inadequacy of the sentencing guidelines. After giving the teenager drugs and raping her in his bedroom, Varela did not call emergency services for help but instead sent semi-naked photos of her to friends as she lay dying. "I’m not sure the Legislature really contemplated something like this," Krese said.
On February 3, Noceda came to a party in the Seattle suburb of Lynwood, Varela told detectives. According to court documents, she snorted Percocet and also ingested liquid marijuana in Varela's room. It was later understood that Noceda had ingested a fatal mix of fentanyl and alprazolam, a generic name for Xanax, according to forensic tests.
Varela told detectives that within a minute of mixing the two, she collapsed. But he chose to send semi-nude images of her to friends instead of seeking help, authorities said. He wrote alongside the images: "LOL, I think she od'd, still breathing."
Court documents said Varela ignored the teenager's predicament and proceeded to play an online game until he fell asleep. After waking up the next morning, he found her lips blue. His co-worker at Dairy Queen contacted authorities a few days later after Varela told him he didn't know whether she was alive when he was having sex with her. It was understood he later told her friend that "she died having sex with me", stated court records.
Gina Pierson, Alyssa's mother, broke down in tears when she learned of the pathetic sentence her daughter's attacker was going to receive. Speaking to KOMO News, she said: "I really don’t think it’s hit me yet. I just feel shock and disbelief, p****d off. He could have done anything, but he chose to play a game and go to sleep. It’s a joke. Three years for taking somebody’s life. Usually, people who do stuff like this don’t get away with a slap on the wrist. I just keep thinking I’ll never see her again."
At 10.17 pm on February 3, Pierson texted Noceda saying: "Do you know the person you’re with very well? be careful." A few hours later, Pierson saw there was no response from her daughter. She again texted her at 2.37 am: "Why is your phone off? Call me, please, I want to know you’re OK. Please be safe."
Law enforcement executed a search warrant later that day and found Noceda's body in a plastic crate at the suspect's residence. Varela was arrested at the scene. During an interrogation, he confessed that he had planned to bury the girl with onions to minimize the stench. Varela also revealed that after Noceda's death, he tried to cover his tracks by unlocking her phone with her thumb and sending messages to her close contacts in order to make them believe she had run away.
"I'm sorry for my foolish actions. Whatever I get is what I deserve," Varela told the court on Thursday. But Rachelle Palmer, Noceda's aunt, was markedly disappointed with the verdict. "You might as well let him walk free with that kind of time," she said.
Now, the embattled family plans to take the case forward and challenge the state legislature on the sentencing guidelines. In court, Noceda's loved ones stood in front of the judge and called Varela a monster and a murderer for about half an hour. As judge Krese handed down her sentence, some of them broke down in the courtroom, Daily Mail reported.