A transient man was sentenced today to 21 years and 8 months in state prison for sexually assaulting a woman and setting a series of destructive fires to homes and businesses in a crime spree in Alameda in September 2014. Andrew Gutierrez, 24, was convicted last October of rape of an intoxicated woman and rape of an unconscious woman for sexually assaulting a woman in her car on Park Street, near Jackson Park, on the night of Sept. 19, 2014.
Alameda County prosecutor Matt Gaidos said Gutierrez found the victim passed out in her vehicle. The victim had drunk alcohol and pulled over because she felt it was unsafe for her to drive. She had vomited on herself after she pulled over and then got into the back seat, Gaidos said.
Gutierrez moved her car to a nearby park, got into the back seat and had intercourse with her, causing her to wake up and tell him to stop, according to Gaidos. As the woman put her pants on afterward, Gutierrez allegedly asked her, “Are you going to report me?” Gutierrez then told the victim to drive him and directed her to a location where he suddenly got out of the car and ran off, according to Gaidos.
The woman reported the crime and her car was processed for fingerprints, which later matched the prints that Alameda police had on file for Gutierrez when he was arrested on the arson charges, Gaidos said. Shortly before his trial began last fall, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to six counts of arson for setting multiple fires early on the morning of Sept. 28, 2014, that caused $3 million in damage to Alameda homes and businesses.
Animal rights activist and musician Stephen Peterson, 30, was also charged with arson in connection with the fires but prosecutors dismissed the charged against him on Oct. 31, 2014, citing insufficient evidence. However, while authorities were investigating Peterson they found evidence that led prosecutors to charge him with felony child pornography possession charges.
He pled no contest to misdemeanor pornography charges and was sentenced to three years’ probation. The woman who was raped said in a letter read aloud in court by Gaidos today that because of the incident, “I have been broken in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
” The victim said, “I have lost my identity. I went from being happy, social, charismatic and independent to isolating myself, putting security cameras at home, having anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts, breakdowns at work, crying myself to sleep, keeping the lights on at night and praying that the next day will get better.
” Addressing Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gloria Rhynes, who sentenced Gutierrez, the woman said, “Your honor, I am extremely proud of myself for fighting for justice because, as you know, the vast majority of sexual offenders will walk free. That is why I am respectfully asking you to please consider a maximum punishment not only for my safety but for the safety of other women.
” The woman, who didn’t attend today’s hearing, said, “I am walking away a stronger woman” and the sentencing of Gutierrez represents “the day I reclaimed my life and happiness.” Gutierrez’s attorney, Edward Bell, said he believes that Gutierrez’s conduct is attributable to the mental illness he suffered after he was abused by his father in his native Puerto Rico when he was only four years old. Bell said he believes Gutierrez should be treated for his mental illness instead of being sentenced to a lengthy prison term. Gutierrez will have to register as both an arson offender and a sexual offender after he’s released from prison.
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