Lionel Blanks Jr., who was convicted of the May 22, 2010, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and other felonies related to a brutal attack in Palo Alto, was sentenced Friday to more than 139 years in prison.
The victim, a woman in her 20s, testified she was napping at night in her Mercedes Benz SUV under a bright streetlight on El Camino Real, a short distance from Serra Street in Palo Alto. She had had a few drinks with friends at a local bar. She pulled over to a place she thought was safe to nap and awoke covered in shattered glass.
Blanks dragged her from the car and then beat and bound her. He drove the woman to Westwood Elementary School in Santa Clara, where he raped her in the elementary school field and tried to strangle her. She only survived the attack because she was able to fake her death, she said.
During the sentencing, Deputy Public Defender Gilda Valeros asked the court not to consider a violent crime that Blanks had committed as a youth more than 20 years ago. If counted, as part of the three-strikes sentencing guidelines, Blanks's minimum sentence would double on two charges from 25 years to life for each count to 50 years to life.
"Mr. Blanks only has one life to give. ... To double a life term does not serve justice," she said.
But Deputy District Attorney Erin West argued that Blanks's juvenile crimes had been pleaded down to a single count of assault with a deadly weapon. The original charges included murder, assault with a deadly weapon and shooting into a dwelling, she said.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Jerome Brock agreed. The nature of Blanks' current crimes far outweighed any consideration of lessening his sentence. The crimes "were planned and fairly sophisticated," Brock said.
He sentenced Blanks to 50 years to life each for rape and penetration, including special allegations; and a total of 39 years and 8 months for the other charges: 18 years for attempted murder; and mid-range sentences for carjacking, robbery and terrorist threats. Brock also rejected a defense argument that the sentences not run consecutively.
Blanks did not show any emotion during sentencing. Members of his family wept quietly. While imprisoned he must pay $9,629.04 in restitution to the Victims Compensation and Government Claims Board. He received 905 days credit for time already served while in custody.
West said that Blanks would never be paroled. He will serve at least 85 percent of the 39-year sentence and then has to serve the 100 years at a minimum.
"I'm grateful that justice was served, and I'm grateful for the victim," she said.
The victim did not appear in court for the sentencing.
"She does not want to see him again," West said.
Valeros said she would file an appeal on the verdict.
"Mr. Blanks was a very gracious client," she added.
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