A former Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was sentenced Friday to 11 years to life in prison for raping one woman and trying to rape another in Parkland last year.
Nathan Ryan Smith, 31, pleaded guilty in March to one count of second-degree rape, one count of attempted second-degree rape and one count of first-degree arson.
Pierce County prosecutors said he bound the women and choked them into unconsciousness before sexually assaulting one and trying to do so to the other on separate occasions in January 2009.
The second woman escaped Smith’s home, despite being bound and gagged, and notified police. Smith set fire to his house before fleeing to Texas, where he was later captured.
He originally was charged with four counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Smith apologized to the women – neither of whom attended the hearing – before being sentenced, saying he hopes the pain he caused them does not endure.
“I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt anybody,” he said.
Smith also apologized to his former comrades.
“They’re in Iraq right now, which is where I should be,” said Smith, a former cavalry scout with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Deputy prosecutor Sven Nelson requested a high-end sentence of 12 years, three months in prison, saying the brutality Smith inflicted on the women was “off the charts.”
There was evidence Smith tortured one of the women by shocking her with cables connected to a car battery and threatened to kill her if she went to police.
Defense attorney Wayne Fricke requested a low-end sentence of nine years, three months, saying his client had served his country honorably before going over the line with the women – prostitutes he claimed to have hired.
His client intends to seek treatment for sexual deviancy while incarcerated, Fricke said.
Superior Court Judge James Orlando split the difference.
“I am still stunned, Mr. Smith, by what you did,” the judge said. “You exceeded what a rape is. You are nowhere near deserving of a low-end sentence.”
Still, Orlando said, Smith took responsibility for his crimes and appeared to understand that what he did “hurt two human beings.”
Orlando’s sentence will be the minimum amount of time Smith serves. It will be up the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to determine when, if ever, Smith is released.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/crime