Matthew Nathan Terrell, 28, was sentenced to six years prison for the attempted rape of a young woman he had met on the internet just the day before. A San Diego County Superior Court judge pronounced sentence on Friday, February 7, 2014.
Terrell contacted the woman he found through a free online-dating site named OkCupid on June 8, 2013. He pretended to be a professional photographer who needed models for a sportswear shoot, and he arranged for the woman to meet him in the parking lot of a Carlsbad hotel the next morning.
Terrell spoke to the judge before he heard his sentence; he claimed that he did not mean for the woman to “fear for her safety.” Terrell denied intent to rape and expressed regret that he “put myself in this position to be judged.” His parents and siblings were in the courtroom; Terrell is reportedly adopted and lived with his family in Oceanside.
The prosecutor read a letter from the victim, who did not come to court for sentencing. The victim stated: “I used to be a friendly person…. I have become an angry person, a diminished person, and most of all, afraid.” The woman, who was 20 years old when she was assaulted, said she no longer feels in control of her life and is now in therapy.
The same judge who heard the victim’s testimony during trial last December, Sim von Kalinowski, made comment before he pronounced sentence.
The judge declined to credit Nathan Terrell for the fact that the assault only lasted a minute or two; the judge declared that the victim escaped her zip-tie bondage by her own strength and courage; and the woman was rescued by passersby — “persons who heard her screaming literally thought she was dying.”
The judge found that Terrell demonstrated “a high-level of criminal sophistication” with his carefully planned-out ruse as an out-of-town photographer. The judge listed some of the “implements he brought with him”: zip-ties, duct tape, and lengths of electrical cord that were strategically hidden around the hotel room.
The judge noted the ball-gag that Terrell had placed under the bed and mentioned that Terrell had cut out panty-liners from the running shorts that he provided for the woman to model.
One of the jurors from the trial came to the sentencing, and she spoke in the hallway afterward. Juror Number Nine revealed that jurors were curious, and they took apart the ball-gag evidence they had been given to consider during deliberations; they found the missing panty-liners in the center, duct tape wrapped around those, plus a long zip-tie, and together that made up the improvised ball-gag.
The judge sentenced Terrell to the maximum possible sentence: six years in prison for attempted rape by force. Terrell was also ordered to register as a sex offender “for the rest of your life.”
Judge von Kalinowski stated, “Clearly, if not in prison, he would be a danger to others.”