Todd David Burpee, 22, received a 43-years-to-life sentence Friday morning for the kidnapping, sexual assault and beating/strangulation of a Gunn High School student in 2007.
In addition, the court ordered Burpee to pay the victim an unspecified amount, along with $10,000 to a state restitution fund and various court fines.
He will not be eligible for parole until at least 2049.
In issuing his sentence, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Griffin Bonini said Burpee "has shown to be an exceptional danger" and described Burpee's acts on Oct. 30, 2007 as "an exceptionally violent crime."
"I don't think (victim) 'Jane Doe' will ever recover," he said.
Burpee, a 2006 Palo Alto High School graduate, received nine years in prison for assaulting the girl and choking her and received another nine years for slamming her head into the pavement after she regained consciousness. He is not eligible for parole on those sentences, but the sentence could be shortened by 15 percent if he displays good behavior, Deputy District Attorney James Leonard said.
Subsequent to that 18-year term, Burpee must do a minimum of 25 years to life for kidnapping Doe and sexually assaulting her by forcible penetration with an object.
Only then will he be eligible for parole, and if paroled, he must register as a sex offender.
Bonini stayed the sentencing of Burpee to an additional life-plus-14-years term in prison for three charges of the six on which he was convicted in May. The court and sentencing guidelines deemed those as different crimes for the same acts but they carried lesser sentences.
Bonini said he believed the testimony of defense-appointed psychiatrist John Greene that Burpee suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but that excuse does not account for the viciousness of the crimes.
Greene testified at the sentencing that Burpee had experienced five life-endangering traumas between the ages of 5 and 11: He witnessed physical violence between his parents and saw his father beat and choke his mother and was afraid she would die; he saw others point a gun at his father and was also threatened with death when he was 5 years old; at age 11, his house was shot at and he was afraid he was going to die, Greene said.
Any one of those events caused fear, helplessness and horror, elements necessary for a diagnosis of PTSD. During 10 jailhouse interviews between January and October 2008, Burpee exhibited symptoms of PTSD, indicating he had frequent, recurring experiences of those events throughout his life. A song could come on the radio and it would trigger the same emotions he felt at the time of the incidents, he told Greene.
The psychiatrist said Burpee had a numbing of emotions which is typical with PTSD patients but also could be easily angered and irritated. He tested Burpee on two occasions to verify that the defendant wasn't faking the symptoms, he said.
He conceded, however, there was no evidence Burpee was having a PTSD event at the time of the attack on Doe. Also, Burpee had not displayed the kind of hyper-vigilance and hyper-arousal of emotions usually associated with PTSD events, he said.
Leonard read a statement written by Doe, who did not want to face Burpee in court and refused to look at him during the trial or to identify him as her attacker.
"I am confused, angry, afraid and sad," she said.
"When I get up the first thing that comes to me is about what happened. ... I am trying so hard to stop (those thoughts) but it only gets (more painful). ... I've lost a huge part ... of any hope of recovering from this incident," she said.
The emotions she experiences from the attack are so overpowering they leave little reserve inside her to process other feelings, she said. When someone does or says anything even slightly troubling, she has difficulty recovering from it.
Sometimes she sees the image of herself running down the street bleeding or struggling against being strangled, she said.
"I was ordinary. I thought I was ordinary. ... (The attack) is the stain that will never be washed away from my life," she said.
Burpee, who did not display any emotions at the sentencing, did not speak. But part of the defense's exhibit at sentencing was an apology letter Burpee wrote to the victim on Nov. 2, 2007, the day after he was arrested in the drive-through lane at a fast-food restaurant in San Jose.
The defense said the letter refuted statements in a probation report that described Burpee as "very arrogant" and without remorse. The letter is excerpted below:
"First of all I would really like to say that I'm really sorry for what I did. I wasn't in my right mind. If I could take it all back, I would. I'm glad I got cot (sic), because I wasn't going to be able to live with that on my heart.
"I would like to thank you for helping me with my problem, because before everybody thought, that I was just a happy man. I thank god put you in my life, because before this I was a lyer (sic) and a cheat. Sorry we had to meet this way.
"I bet you think that I'm a monster and you have every reason to think that, but the real Todd is a fun person to be around ... don't be afraid to live your life, don't let me stop you from having fun. You can still go out and take long bike ride.
"Thanks for helping me grow as a man, I hope the best for you."
Defense attorney Daniel Olmos had asked the judge for some leniency because of Burpee's past traumas. But Bonini said he was not swayed by the PTSD testimony and based his sentencing on the testimony at the trial.
"It's obviously a horrendous tragedy for everyone -- for the victim and for Todd," Olmos said.
He said it is likely that Burpee will appeal the sentence.
Leonard said he also did not agree with the PTSD defense.
"A lot of people have PTSD and they don't go out and attack an elementary-school student," he said. (Burpee told police he thought Doe was in elementary school.)
"She was incredibly brave to come in and testify," Leonard said of Doe. "I'm glad the community will be safe from this guy."
The sentencing in San Jose was attended by Interim Palo Alto Police Chief Dennis Burns and several officers who had been involved in the case.