Rape Sentence of 142 Years Sets Record in O.C.
A Superior Court judge Monday sentenced a convicted rapist to 142 1/3 years in prison--the longest sentence ever handed down in an Orange County rape case--for a series of sexual attacks involving 15 women in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley.
“With the sentence I’ve imposed, it’s not likely that you will ever see the light of day in a free society again,” Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald told defendant Robin Scott Dasenbrock.
A probation report and Dasenbrock’s own letter to the court, made public Monday, indicate that the defendant sees himself as a burglar, not a rapist.
Dasenbrock, 26, a former warehouse worker from Fountain Valley, told a psychiatrist in a jailhouse interview that he had sex with the women whose homes he burglarized because he thought he “was probably carrying out the sexual fantasies of his victims,” according to the probation report.
Dasenbrock would be 94 years old before he is eligible for parole, if his sentence is upheld on appeal.
Officials in the district attorney’s office said the county’s longest sentence in a rape case previously was 117 years, handed down in 1984.
Fitzgerald said later: “I’m not into setting records. I’m into giving people what they deserve. Mr. Dasenbrock deserves every day I gave him.”
In a letter to the court, in which he drew a self-portrait as his signature, Dasenbrock lambasted prosecutors because they “would not entertain any suggestion as to what was reasonable” in negotiating a plea. Dasenbrock earlier had refused to consider a tentative 60-year-sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
One of the victims--raped at knifepoint with a pillowcase over her head--wrote to the judge regarding sentencing: “Short of castration, (Dasenbrock) should be punished to the full extent of the law.”
The rapes of eight women and sexual assaults of seven others occurred between November, 1985, and April, 1987. One charge included the burglary of a man’s residence.
Most of the victims were attacked at knifepoint while they were asleep in their first-floor apartments. They included one woman who was raped twice, in attacks that were more than a year apart, and one woman sexually assaulted on Christmas Day.
Dasenbrock’s attorney, James S. Odriozola, conceded to jurors during the trial that his client was guilty of many the 38 counts against him.
“I think it’s a shame to simply warehouse somebody like this, who is not likely to get any therapeutic treatment, when it’s obvious he needs it,” Odriozola said outside the courtroom Monday.
However, several police investigators present for the sentencing later expressed satisfaction over Dasenbrock’s lengthy prison term.
“There’s a certain degree of satisfaction in being here and seeing this through,” said Fountain Valley Police Officer James Floren.
Floren was the officer who arrested Dasenbrock on April 29, 1987. He had spotted him hiding in some bushes outside a Fountain Valley apartment complex in an area where a rape had occurred the night before.
“We believe he was waiting to commit his next rape,” Floren said. “It was like a sixth sense. I knew immediately this was the fellow we were after.”
None of the victims were in court for Dasenbrock’s sentencing. Fountain Valley Police Detective Mike Becker said the victims were too traumatized to be in court.
“For many of them, their lives are devastated over what has happened to them,” Becker said.
One victim who was raped at knifepoint said she cannot even tolerate having a knife in her kitchen now, the probation report said. Another said the greatest terror during the attack was that she believed she would be killed, the report said.
The woman who was raped twice had testified that Dasenbrock taunted her during the second attack about the first rape. The woman had pleaded with him, saying: “Why are you doing this to us?”
Dasenbrock, dressed in a gray striped dress shirt, gray slacks and white tennis shoes, took prolific notes as Fitzgerald went through a litany of the defendant’s crimes before handing down the sentence.
Fitzgerald repeatedly used such phrases as “high degree of cruelty and viciousness” and accused Dasenbrock of “taunting” many of his victims.
The judge gave Dasenbrock the exact sentence requested by prosecutors.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Koski, who prosecuted the case. “It’s not likely he’ll ever get out of prison.”
The jury deliberated for four days in December before finding Dasenbrock guilty on 34 of the 38 counts against him. They found the defendant not guilty on three charges of assault with intent to commit rape and one burglary count. Prosecutors conceded that those were the counts in which the evidence was weakest. They also said the eyewitness identification may have been tainted because Dasenbrock’s picture had appeared in a community newspaper before the victims could see him in a police lineup.
But Koski commended the jurors for being “conscientious” in returning those verdicts of acquittal.
Of the counts on which Dasenbrock was found guilty, he was either identified by the victims in a police lineup or in court, or he had left fingerprints in the victims’ apartments.
Dasenbrock eventually moved into the Fountain Valley apartment complex near Edinger Avenue where many of the assaults and rapes had occurred.
“I wouldn’t want him back out in society,” said jury foreman David Brodeur. “It’s a little scary, really. He looks like . . . he looks like me. He just looks like an average guy.”
Dasenbrock received a general discharge from the Marine Corps after several burglary-related incidents that resulted in a court martial, according to court documents. He had gone to high school in Montana and lived in Washington before moving to Southern California in 1982. Most of the attacks occurred shortly after he broke up with his wife.
Both Dasenbrock’s brother from Montana and sister from Idaho wrote letters to the court pleading for leniency from the judge.
Dasenbrock stated to the judge in his two-page letter that he has changed for the better in his four years in the Orange County Jail.
“We are born alone and we die alone, and the majority of time in between we are alone,” he wrote.
But the general tone of his letter was anger at the police and prosecutors. He chided the police for not taking advantage of his offer to help them crack a major burglary ring he was involved in.