Man Sentenced to More Than 50 Years in Prison for Assault of Gilbert Teen
GILBERT, ARIZONA - MAY 31, 2018
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A man convicted of assaulting a Gilbert teen at a community pool in 2016 was sentenced to more than 50 years in prison on Wednesday.
Carl Wayne Price, a 48-year-old sex offender out of California, was arrested in March 2016 after a bloodstain from the victim’s shirt containing his DNA was identified by investigators.
A jury convicted Price in April of kidnapping, aggravated assault, attempted sexual assault and threatening and intimidating, according to court records.
The victim, a 14-year-old girl, told police that Price physically restrained her and led her to a concealed area. As she attempted to defend herself, Price shoved her face down and straddled her, using his hands to choke her.
Price then attempted to sexually assault the girl, but her continued resistance prompted him to flee the scene.
Before this incident, Price had a history of arrests and was a registered sex offender.
In 1995, he was convicted in a San Joaquin County, California, court of lewd and lascivious acts with a teenage family member.
The Gilbert girl's mother spoke before the judge on Wednesday, asking for the maximum penalty.
Her mother detailed the trauma the attack caused on her child and, in between silent sobs, she described the physical harm, insomnia, depression and anxiety her daughter endured following the incident.
“To this day, she cannot be alone in a room with a man,” she said. “The trauma of that attack has divided our lives into two, the before and after. She was not his first victim but she’ll definitely be his last.”
During the sentencing, Price’s lawyer claimed untreated mental illness was a factor in his actions.
According to his lawyer, Price had been experiencing delusions and had turned to drinking as a form of self-medicating.
As Price stood before the judge, he said he regretted his actions.
“Whatever happened, happened,” he said. “Since this night has happened, I have prayed for (the victim) every night. Until my last breath, I’ll pray for her.”
During the sentencing, the prosecuting attorney brought up Price’s prior criminal history as a “pattern” and referred to him as a threat to society.
“I fear for his next potential victim if he’s ever released,” she said.
The presiding judge, Judge William Wingard, commended the victim on her strength throughout the court process, and added that while mental illness is often times considered a mitigating factor, it does not pardon Price’s crimes.
“Mental illness is not an excuse for predatory behavior, which is what this is,” he said.