OLYMPIA - An Olympia man was sentenced to life in prison under the state's "three strikes" law Thursday for raping and assaulting a woman who offered him a ride home April 12.
A jury convicted Allan R. Simmons, 23, last month for the rape and assault, both Class A felonies. He has two prior serious felony convictions in Illinois.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Anne Hirsch handed down the automatic sentence. In 1993, voters approved the nation’s first three-strikes law, formally known as the Persistent Offender Accountability Act, which requires a life sentence if a defendant was convicted three separate times of one of about 40 felonies.
In a statement that deputy prosecuting attorney John Skinder read in the courtroom on her behalf, the 25-year-old victim wrote that the crime has marked her with fear and pain. She suffered a broken nose, chipped teeth and two black eyes.
She wrote that she’s afraid to be out at night – a big inconvenience for her job – and fears strangers.
She wrote that she was convinced Simmons was going to kill her and begged repeatedly for her life during the attack.
“I did nothing to this man but talk to him and give him a ride home, and in return he brutally beat me and raped me,” her statement read. “I did not understand what fear truly was until that night. The fear I felt was overwhelming and indescribable and will never completely leave me. I don’t think there is a sentence equal to that.”
The Olympian does not usually publish the names of sex-crime victims.
The woman testified during the trial that she met Simmons for the first time the night of the rape as she was smoking a cigarette outside after attending a party in downtown Olympia.
She agreed to give him a ride home after they had talked for about an hour. The woman said that before the attack, Simmons began giving her the creeps by ranting about his job at Taco Bell and giving her vague directions. She testified that Simmons attacked her after she complied with his request for a hug.
Simmons declined to speak at the sentencing. He denied raping the woman.
Simmons initially told investigators he was with his girlfriend at the time of the rape. But his girlfriend told them Simmons had told her he was going out with friends in downtown Olympia. She also said Simmons came home with blood on his clothes early the next morning and said he’d been in a fight.
During the trial, Larry Jefferson, Simmons’ attorney, maintained the sex was consensual and said the woman began attacking him because she was upset about cheating on her boyfriend, prompting him to defend himself.
Simmons pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in DeKalb County, Illinois, stemming from an incident in which he broke a man’s jaw in July 2005, court records show.
In December 2006, Simmons beat a woman, including slamming her head into the sidewalk, and stole her cell phone. He pleaded guilty in Winnebago County, Ill., to one count of robbery, records show.
Jefferson argued at sentencing that the robbery conviction could not be considered a “strike” because it is not comparable under Washington state law as a “most serious offense,” as defined in Illinois. Hirsch rejected the argument.
Simmons will appeal. A life sentence carries no possibility of release.
Christian Hill: 360-754-5427