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Ex-soldier gets 11 years to life in Parkland sexual assault case

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on May 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
May 28, 2010 4:21 pm

A former Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier today was sentenced to 11 years to life in prison for raping one woman and attempting to rape another in Parkland last year.

Nathan Ryan Smith, 31, pleaded guilty in March to one count of second-degree rape, one count of attempted second-degree rape and one count of first-degree arson.

Prosecutors said he bound the women and choked them into unconsciousness before sexually assaulting one and attempting to do so to the other on separate occasions in January 2009. 

The second woman managed to escape Smith’s home despite being bound and gagged and notified police. Smith set fire to his house before fleeing to Texas, where he was later captured.

He apologized to the women before being sentencing, saying he hopes the pain he caused them does not endure.

He also apologized to his former comrades in arms.

“They’re in Iraq right now, which is where I should be,” said Smith, a former cavalry scout with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Deputy prosecutor Sven Nelson requested a high-end sentence of 12 years, three months in prison, saying the brutality Smith inflicted on the women was “off the charts.”

There was evidence that Smith tortured one of the women by shocking her with cables connected to a car battery.

Defense attorney Wayne Fricke requested a low-end sentence of nine years, three months, saying his client had served his country honorably before going over the line with the women – prostitutes he’d hired to have sex with him.

Superior Court Judge James Orlando split the difference.

“I am still stunned, Mr. Smith, by what you did,” the judge said. “You exceeded what a rape is. You are nowhere near deserving of a low-end sentence.”

Orlando’s sentence will be the minimum amount of time Smith serves. It will be up the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board to determine when, if ever, Smith is released.

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