Judge gives man 6 years for PB rapeMarch 19, 2008 No Comments
A Bakersfield man who attacked and raped a woman after she left a Pacific Beach bar was sentenced Monday, March 17, to six years in state prison.
Hosh Deion Thomas, 24, was visiting friends in Pacific Beach when he struck up a conversation with a woman in her 20s at The Tavern bar on Dec. 10. The woman came with two female friends to celebrate the end of finals, but their designated driver became too intoxicated to drive, and they took a taxi home, leaving her at the bar alone. One friend promised to return, but didn’t, according to the probation report.
When the bar closed at 2 a.m., Thomas said he would walk her home. The victim asked a bartender if he knew Thomas, and he said yes, Thomas had been there with his friends before.
While walking in the 1200 block of Diamond Street, Thomas abruptly punched the woman repeatedly and knocked her down. He tore off her clothes. Her screams got the attention of a man riding a skateboard, who stopped and turned around to approach the scene, which caused Thomas to flee.
The skateboarder called 911, and San Diego police units responded, and the victim was taken to a hospital. Thomas was later identified with help from The Tavern’s video footage and personnel.
Thomas’ attorney, Curtis Floyd, also from Bakersfield, asked San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth to impose a three-year prison term, saying “alcohol did play a part for both participants.”
The judge quickly replied, “You’re not saying, are you, that she should be beaten and raped because she drank alcohol?”
Floyd answered no but added that alcohol definitely played a role in the crime. Floyd said Thomas was present in the house when his biological mother was shot to death when he was 8 years old, and his father never married his mother. Floyd said his client had failed relationships with women.
“He’s had more luck than most people would. Cry me a river,” said the judge. “He was able to go to school.”
Smyth noted in the probation report that Thomas was adopted by a pediatrician and his family. Smyth said he was unable to understand any connection between the death of Thomas’ mother at age eight and him committing a vicious rape at age 24.
“The attack is almost utterly inexplicable. Something made him do a pretty vicious attack,” Smyth said.
Thomas said, “I take full responsibility for my actions. It wouldn’t have happened if I had not been drinking that day.”
This caused Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Means to remark that Thomas was blaming the alcohol for the crime and not himself. Alcohol use “is not a defense,” Means said.
“The defendant has no insight to his behavior. He has thin, thin remorse,” Means said, adding that the location of the rape in a public place showed he was “brazen and callous.”
The victim told the judge she developed “vivid flashbacks” of the attack and has not told her parents about it because she is too embarrassed. She called it “the worst thing that ever happened in my life.”
“Some days all I can do is cry. I cannot be alone ever and have nightmares of being beaten and raped,” said the victim, who began weeping.
She was unable to finish her statement, and the prosecutor read the rest of it to the judge.
“I feel so fragile. I’m embarrassed and disgusted that this man was close to me,” she wrote.
Smyth fined Thomas $1,220 and ordered him to be tested for AIDS, and to give a DNA sample. The judge said a restitution hearing for the victim’s medical and counseling expenses would be heard when those figures come in. Thomas will also have to register as a sex offender in whatever community he will live in after he’s paroled. He also got credit for 95 days spent in jail.
Thomas told the probation officer the victim flirted with him and offered to make out with him, but he declined. He also said she was drunk, and the flirting continued as they walked out of the bar.
Thomas admitted to abruptly punching her, and said he did so because he “no longer wanted to kiss her.” He admitted to throwing her down on the ground, tearing off her clothes. He claimed she never said no, and denied he committed rape.
The report said Thomas “regretted not staying around and helping the victim collect her clothing.”
When the probation officer asked him why he pleaded guilty to rape if he was denying it, Thomas replied, “I’m a big black athlete. Who’s going to believe that I didn’t rape her? I was 100 percent wrong for hitting her. I pled guilty because I assaulted her. But I didn’t rape her.”
Thomas was a wide receiver for Southern Utah University in 2005 and played football in high school. He worked at a home improvement store in Bakersfield.
Police officers said The Tavern personnel were helpful in identifying Thomas as the rapist. They provided images from their video camera and talked with regulars who knew Thomas, according to the probation report. Police went to where Thomas was staying. He wasn’t there at the time, but he was arrested after he agreed to meet with them at a Starbucks store on Dec. 13.
Thomas has no previous criminal record other than a misdemeanor case of driving under a suspended license and hit and run. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges, which involve an incident on Aug. 29, 2007, that was investigated by the California Highway Patrol in San Diego.