Action News exclusive: Sheriff Mims on Scarber sentencing

FRESNO, Calif.

Two-and-a-half years after the rape, Spencer Scarber is going to prison for life, and his father is no longer at CHP.

What could be the final turn in the case of Spencer Scarber will send the convicted rapist to prison for at least 35 years.

But it took several twists to get there.

In the middle of trial, sheriffs launched a missing persons investigation when Spencer's father reported him gone.

When investigators determined family members helped Spencer escape to Mexico, they spent two months searching for a fugitive.

"This was different than any other case we've ever had," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims in an exclusive interview with Action News. "It covered two countries."

Sheriff Mims had never before attended a court hearing in her time as sheriff. But she was there Tuesday as a judge sentenced Spencer.

After her investigators caught Spencer in Mexico, his family accused her of leading a vast conspiracy to frame Spencer.

"They blamed the sheriff's office," the sheriff said. "They blamed the DA's office, other people at the scene. They blamed their attorney. They were just throwing everything they could at it trying to divert attention from what really happened and what really happened was Spencer Scarber brutally raped a woman."

Mims told Action News she came to court because somebody needed to represent the woman to whom this happened.

The victim sent the judge a nine-page letter, but since testifying in Spencer Scarber's trial, she has avoided court.

But the prosecutor says the rape haunts her and she lives in fear of the Scarber family

"It's pure emotional turmoil for the victim in this type of case, especially when the case drags on for so long," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi.

Spencer's parents still maintain his innocence.

They say DNA evidence only proved their son had consensual relations with the victim and his detailed taped confession was false.

"Unfortunately, the family, I feel badly for them because their son committed a terrible crime," Sheriff Mims said. "Someday he will tell them the truth."

The family plans to file an appeal right away.

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