The bachelorette party was in full swing when Shane Sanches stopped by his neighbor's condo. He had seen celebrating on the lawn. The young women told him the bride-to-be had had too much to drink and had passed out in a bathroom downstairs.
Everyone thought he had left. Then they heard a scream.
They rushed toward the noise and found the bride crying and yelling as she tried to get away from Sanches.
The incident was one of two sexual assaults that have landed the 55-year-old Lake Forest man in prison for the rest of his life.
On Monday, a judge in Santa Ana sentenced Sanches to 21 years in prison for sexually assaulting the woman in 2000. That prison term will be added to the 55-years-to-life sentence he received three years earlier for beating and raping his then-wife after she refused to help bail him out of jail.
"I think the victim is comforted knowing he's going to die in prison on that other case," said Superior Court Judge Greg S. Paer, referring to the bride. "Your case kind of buries the hatchet on him."
The woman, now 26, faced her attacker in court Monday. The youngest of her three children, a 6-week-old boy, napped in a stroller.
"While my guard was down, a man old enough to be my father violated me in a way that I will never forget," said the victim, who was 20 at the time of the assault. The Times has a policy of withholding the names of sexual assault victims.
"He belongs in a cage where he can harm no more," she said.
Sanches, a onetime spice salesman, was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting the woman the night of Sept. 10, 2000. While in custody, Sanches persuaded a bail bondsman to get him out, promising that his then-wife of 13 years would sign the necessary paperwork.
But when she refused -- telling him instead that she wanted a divorce -- he attacked her and threatened to tie her up with duct tape. Authorities said he beat and raped her repeatedly as their children slept down the hall.
She escaped the next morning, after persuading him to take the family dogs to be groomed, and called sheriff's deputies from a neighbor's house. In May 2003, a jury found Sanches guilty of beating his wife, attempted false imprisonment and spousal rape.
Sanches went to trial in the other case a year and a half ago, but the jury deadlocked 10 to 2, leaning toward conviction.
A retrial was scheduled to begin last week, when he decided to plead guilty to both counts: burglary and sexual assault with a foreign object.
He must serve the 21-year sentence before beginning the other.
"The only time he's crime-free is when he's locked up," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Shaddi Kamiabipour.
In 1986, Sanches was accused of raping and beating two women he had met at a bar. While out on bail he was caught beating and trying to rape a third woman.
In 1988, he pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He was paroled in 1993.