Spencer Scarber's family arrived to court for his sentencing on Tuesday morning -- a sentencing that has been 14 months in the making. Spencer faced forward in the court, rarely acknowledging his family.
Spencer Scarber was convicted of a rape that occurred in July 2011. He disappeared to Mexico in December 2012, just before he was convicted. In February of 2013, Scarber was found in Acapulco. Scarber was convicted on 4 counts -- forcible rape, sexual penetration by force, first degree burglary, and first degree robbery. He was acquitted on one charge.
The rape victim wrote a 9-page letter for the sentencing. She wrote that she never had closure and lived in fear while he was escaped to Mexico. She said that she is still in fear because his family knows where she lives. She also wrote that she felt helpless, angry, humiliated, and disgusted -- and that it still haunts her to this day.
Several other letters were submitted on Scarber's behalf.
During the sentencing on Tuesday, the Deputy Attorney General pushed for a full 10-year enhancement because Scarber used a knife. She said the victim was having nightmares because of that weapon. She also pointed out that Scarber attempted to interfere with justice by fleeing during the trial, then blaming others such as the District Attorney and the Sheriff's Department. The Deputy Attorney General further stated that Scarber committed statutory rape while out of custody, on bail, for the rape case. That second case was dismissed after Tuesday's sentencing on the Squaw Valley rape.
Defense attorney Charles Magill challenged the sentencing on Tuesday. Magill said the Scarbers believed they didn't get justice in the case. They claim District Attorney Beth Egan told Kyle Scarber that she would "take care of his son." Magill said he did everything he could to show this was a miscarriage of justice and that the judge had made up his mind to deny a motion for a new trial before he even spoke -- even though the motion was filed on paper ahead of time.
Magill went on to say that Scarber didn't flee out of fear of justice, but because he feared he would not get justice after a forced confession. Magill said it was not a violent rape and there was not significant planning. He also claimed the burglary enhancement on the rape charge should not apply since the victim did not live at the house where it happened. He also questioned the credibility of the victim.
The Deputy Attorney General countered by saying the jury decided based on the facts of the case and said Scarber shows no remorse.
After review, Judge Edward Sarkisian said he had already addressed some of the defense arguments in December when he denied the motion for a new trial. The judge said Scarber had intentionally misled those near and dear to him and led them to much distress. He said Scarber's total lack of remorse and flight in the midst of trial were factors giving him a longer term.
In the end, Judge Sarkisian sentenced Spencer Scarber to 35 years to life.
"A 35-year sentence is a substantial sentence. He will not be outside of prison until he's in his 50s, so it's quite a lengthy sentence. Clearly, it'll give him enough time to think about what he did," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi.
But Scarber's family says all he did is have consensual sex with the victim. They say the rest has been politics and conspiracy.
As more than a dozen sheriff's investigators left the courtroom behind her, Gail Scarber told Action News those investigators framed her son with help from the district attorney and judges. She also says the victim told a series of lies.
"She also said that she's scared. She drives past our house weekly. She drives past our house so slow that I can see the color of her lipstick," said Gail Scarber.
Mrs. Scarber also showed us notes she says are from CHP Chief Jim Abrames, who was Kyle Scarber's boss. She says the notes prove Sheriff Margaret Mims is lying when she says she never told Chief Abrames the victim wanted to drop charges -- a claim the victim also denies.
The jury relied on her testimony, plus DNA and a videotaped confession from Scarber. And Capozzi says the other issues are just a distraction.
"It's another case of blowing smoke. It's an issue that has nothing to do with whether or not this defendant committed a rape," said Capozzi.
The only words from Spencer Scarber during the hearing were that "Yes" he understands his appellate rights -- and "No sir" he doesn't have any questions.