A Burbank construction worker dubbed “the Valley spanker” by law enforcement officials was sentenced Wednesday to 170 years in state prison for the rapes and sexual torture of prostitutes.
In sentencing Vincent Paul Fanelli II, 39, Superior Court Judge Sandy R. Kriegler rejected defense arguments that the women, by offering sex for money, were not conventional rape victims.
Instead, the judge said, the women, who were smaller than Fanelli, were especially vulnerable when they entered his car and were driven to secluded spots, where the defendant forced sexual acts.
Fanelli was convicted last month by a jury that spent less than two hours in deliberations before finding him guilty of 31 rape, sex and torture charges involving four women, all admitted prostitutes. The attacks occurred in Pacoima, Van Nuys and North Hollywood.
To the end, Fanelli denied that he had done anything wrong except to cheat on his wife by picking up prostitutes.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Korban said that Fanelli and his lawyer, John Daley, “really dehumanized the women involved. The message was, ‘You can do anything to a prostitute.’ ”
Outside the courtroom, one of the victims said that she felt angry during the trial, and that Fanelli and his lawyer treated the victims in this case “like we were zero.”
But the 28-year-old San Fernando Valley woman added that she was gratified that police, prosecutors, and jurors had believed her story. Fanelli’s lengthy sentence was “almost better than Christmas,” she said.
LAPD Det. Greg Stone hailed the jury’s verdict and the lengthy sentence as “another step forward for society” and “a victory for victims.” He said that while he was offended that the defense impugned the victims, making an issue of “the fact they were not Susie Homemaker,” the tactic apparently backfired.
He also praised the victims for coming forward despite their fears that they wouldn’t be believed or that “society would shun them” because of their profession.
Fanelli family members said outside the courtroom that they they support him and vowed to appeal the case.