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Judge Throws the Book at Man Convicted of Raping 12-Year-Old at Knifepoint in Front of Sister and Grandma, Calling it ‘One of the Most Depraved Crimes’ He’d Ever Seen

Daniel John Arnold during 2016 court appearance for burglary (KIMA screenshot)

Daniel John Arnold during 2016 court appearance for burglary (KIMA screenshot)

A 34-year-old man in Washington will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after being convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl at knifepoint in front of her grandmother and 16-year-old sister during a home invasion four years ago.

Yakima County Judge Jeffrey B. Swann on Tuesday ordered Daniel John Arnold to serve a sentence of life in prison with a possibility for parole after 80 years for the chilling spate of crimes that officials said left the entire community shocked.

“This was one of the worst sexual assault crimes I, and the Yakima County Prosecutor’s office, have ever been associated with in our careers,” Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic said in a statement following the sentencing hearing. “The heinous nature and cruelty of this home invasion rape of a 12-year girl shocked the conscience of Yakima County. Simply, this defendant deserved every month of incarceration that he received from the court.”

Judge Swann similarly referred to the case as “one of the most depraved crimes” he had ever seen.

Following a bench trial last month, Judge Swann found convicted Arnold on one count each of first-degree rape, second-degree child rape, and first-degree burglary, as well as three counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree assault, according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office. All of the charges included enhancements for being committed with a deadly weapon. The burglary, kidnapping, and second-degree assault charges included enhancements for being sexually-motivated crimes.

Brusic said that the sentence was 10.5 years above the standard maximum sentence for first-degree rape, reasoning that the “exceptional sentence was because the court had found that the First Degree Rape involved a destructive or foreseeable impact on persons other than the victim.”

Officers with the Yakima Police Department on Jan. 23, 2018 responded to a 911 call about a home invasion and sexual assault, the release said. First responders arrived at the scene minutes later and confirmed that an adult male had used packaging tape to bind the victim’s 16-year-old sister and grandmother while he raped the 12-year-old at knifepoint.

The suspect — later identified as Arnold — ordered the grandmother and 16-year-old to get onto the floor “while he completed the sexual assault,” prosecutors said. But as he continued the assault, the victim’s grandmother and sister “rushed the suspect.” A struggle ensued resulting in the suspect being stabbed in the chest while the two younger victims both sustained knife wounds.

The suspect fled on foot before police could arrive. After several hours of searching, officers found him hiding on a neighbor’s property. He had “rolled himself up in an outdoor carpet on the back porch” of a nearby residence, per the release. The officers noted that he had an “obvious stab-wound to his chest” as he was taken into custody.

Det. Michael Durbin, one of the lead investigators in the case, said everybody associated with the investigation was deeply affected by Arnold’s abominable actions against the young victim and her family.

“This case remains one of the most heinous sexual assaults in Yakima’s history, a true stranger attack with no connection to the victims whatsoever,” he said in a statement. “I know it has had a lasting impact on many of the first responders and detectives who assisted in the investigation.”

Those sentiments were reiterated by Brusic.

“This terrible and tragic case will long live in our memories,” he said in the press release. “May the young ladies and their grandma move on, in some way, and lead fantastic lives to show the defendant and to our county that they will achieve success despite this evil perpetrated upon them.”

[image via KIMA screenshot]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.