A 20-year-old man charged with raping a high school student as she died from a drug overdose was sentenced this week to less than three years in prison.
The case out of Washington state has attracted national attention. Both the dead girl's mother and the judge who sentenced the man said the state's laws need to be toughened so something like this can't happen again.
The case is also troubling because the man, Brian Varela, sent semi-nude photos of the student, Alyssa Noceda, 18, to friends. He never called for help after she died and kept her body in his mobile home for days; he later said he planned to bury her body and flee to Mexico.
Judge Linda Kerse said sentencing guidelines limited the amount of punishment she could give Varela, according to HeraldNet in Everett, Wash. He was sentenced to 2 years and 10 months prison after pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter, third-degree rape and unlawful disposal of remains.
"I'm sorry for my foolish actions," Varela said in court. "What I get is what I deserve."
Varela and Noceda snorted crushed up pills at his mobile home in the Seattle area, then took concentrated THC. She quickly collapsed. An autopsy would later show she overdosed on fentanyl and Xanax.
Instead of calling for help, Varela sent a group text to friends that showed Noceda semi-nude. Her lips were blue and she was unconscious. He said in the text that he thought Noceda was overdosing and that he was having sex with her to "pass the time." He later told a friend that "she died having sex with me."
He later told authorities that he played video games through the night, then went to work at Dairy Queen the next day. He put her body in a plastic crate and washed it to destroy evidence. He even used her thumb to open her phone and post to social media to make it look like she was running away from home.
A co-worker later called police after hearing Varela talk about what had happened.