Comments Off on Fixed life sentence imposed in rape case

SANDPOINT — A Sagle man convicted of rape and felony drug charges was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Monday.

Dean Duane Stevens Jr. did not appear to react when 1st District Judge Steve Verby imposed the sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl in July 2009.

Verby said he was not imposing the life sentence due to animosity or hatred of the defendant.

“I’m looking at how to protect society,” Verby told Stevens.

Stevens, 40, was charged with rape, kidnapping and delivery of methamphetamine. Stevens entered Alford pleas to the rape and drug charges, which meant he took no moral responsibility for the crimes, but believed he would be convicted if tried.

In exchange for the pleas, the kidnapping charge was dismissed.

Stevens continued to profess his innocence at sentencing.

“I did not rape her. There was nothing forcible about anything,” he said.

Stevens admitted offering the teen money to pose for nude photographs at a run-down shack in Samuels where the alleged sexual assault took place.

Chief Public Defender Isabella Robertson urged the court for mercy and recommended five- to 20-year concurrent sentences for both charges. She said Stevens would benefit from sex offender treatment and could still be a productive member of society.

Stevens’ sister took the stand and testified that her brother spent some of his formative years living with Gloria White, a colorful Boundary County figure known for embracing those who had little regard for societal norms and laws. White, who died this year at the age of 69, once harbored convicted spy Christopher John Boyce after he escaped from a federal lockup in 1980 and began robbing banks.

Boyce was the basis of “The Falcon and the Snowman,” a 1985 film which starred Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn.

If Idaho’s rape law parsed out offenses in degrees of heinousness, Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said Stevens’ conduct would fall at the far end of the spectrum. He said Stevens tricked the girl into going to the cabin, plied her with meth and forcibly raped her.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat this case at all,” said Marshall, who recommended concurrent sentences of 25-to-life for rape and 10-to-20 years for the drug charge.

The courtroom fell silent as Verby reviewed Stevens’ presentence investigation, the results of a polygraph exam and a psychosexual evaluation.

The documents, Verby said, indicated Stevens was not entirely forthcoming about his sexual deviancy and was considered a moderate to high recidivism risk. The reports indicated Stevens had been a heavy drug user since his early teens and had exchanged narcotics for sexual favors with underage prostitutes while living in California.

Moreover, Stevens committed the latest offenses while awaiting sentencing in a sex abuse case involving another Bonner County teen. Verby held that the cases were “strikingly similar” in that Stevens appeared to be preying on vulnerable girls.

“You have shown that the rules that apply to anybody else do not apply to you,” said Verby.

After imposing the fixed life sentence, Verby tacked on a 15- to 25-year sentence on the drug charge. That sentence runs consecutively to the life sentence.

Robertson said her client would seek post-conviction relief and will appeal the sentence because the evaluations indicated Stevens would be a better candidate for release after sexual offender treatment and about 20 years of incarceration.

“He would be safer for release after he turns 60 years old,” Robertson said after the hearing.

It’s the first time Verby has imposed a fixed life term since being elected to the bench in 2002.

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