A jury declared Matthew Nathan Terrell guilty of assault with intent to commit rape and false imprisonment, on December 18. The attack happened in a Carlsbad motel room on June 9, 2013.
The jury declared their unanimous verdict after less than three hours deliberations; they heard testimony for less than two days.
The victim testified that she believed she was meeting a professional photographer working for Nike, that she was offered $50 per hour to be part of a sportswear campaign. The young woman responded to an advertisement she received through a website called OKCUPID on the morning of June 8. By the next morning, 28-year-old Terrell had convinced the 20-year-old woman to meet with him in the parking lot of a Motel 6 in Carlsbad. She said she thought the photo shoot was going to be on a beach with other women.
The impostor photographer asked his victim to make a certain pose with her arms behind her back and gripping each elbow with her hands, and then he came up behind her and zip-tied her arms together, the woman testified. Photos in a camera recovered from the room supported her story.
Two off-duty firemen from Texas were at the hotel; they testified that they heard screams and went to investigate. James Todd Thibodeaus said he witnessed a tiny woman rush from room 107. “She was really distraught when she came out; she was still screaming for help.” Thibodeaus then saw a man come out of the room, “So I yelled at him to sit down when he walked out.”
“He said it was a big misunderstanding,” Thibodeaus told the jury.
The first officer who arrived on the scene said he got there within three minutes of the 911 call, at 11:31 a.m.
Officer DeVelasco said he found an improvised “ball gag” constructed from a zip tie and duct tape in room 107. “I was kinda surprised to find this underneath the bed,” the officer said, holding up evidence in court. “It was concealed two feet or maybe a foot and a half from the foot of the bed.”
Prosecutor Laurie Hauf said that Terrell could be sentenced to just probation or up to six years in prison. “He doesn’t have a criminal record,” the deputy district attorney stated.
The same judge who heard the trial, Sim von Kalinowski, will pronounce sentence on February 7 in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.