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A 41-year-old man was sentenced Friday in Clark County Superior Court to more than a dozen years in prison for a second-degree rape charge stemming from an attack on an intoxicated woman walking home alone in Vancouver.
Damdee Soungpanya, whose last known address was in Spokane but was listed as transient in court documents at the time of his arrest, maintained his innocence when given a chance to address the court.
Soungpanya listed off what he believed were mistakes in the police investigation and faulty trial testimony.
“I feel I have been cheated out of my life,” said Soungpanya, who was convicted following a jury trial in December.
Judge David Gregerson characterized Soungpanya as a predator who attacked a vulnerable person before handing down a sentence of 147 months, the maximum allowed under the law.
“Combined with his criminal history, it persuades the court to believe that protection of the community is the most important factor in this case,” Gregerson said.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein asked the court to impose the maximum sentence. Klein said Soungpanya attacked a stranger from behind while in public, and she called him a violent offender with a lengthy criminal history before noting some of his past convictions, which includes an assault with a weapon in California when he shot at an occupied building.
Court records show Soungpanya has criminal convictions in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Utah. When Soungpanya was arrested in Clark Country, he had pending criminal cases in Idaho and Spokane. Both cases were filed earlier in 2017.
On Feb. 18, 2017, the victim was intoxicated and walking to her mother’s residence when a man hit her from behind and sexually assaulted her, according to a probable cause affidavit. The victim did not know the assailant and told him “no” as he assaulted her. She said she didn’t have a clear recollection of the assault, according to the affidavit.
The victim participated in a sexual assault exam, which resulted in DNA being matched to Soungpanya, the affidavit states.
In a statement read to the court by a victims’ advocate, Soungpanya’s victim said her life has been difficult since the attack.
“I’m afraid to be alone, and when I am, I’m looking over my shoulder. … I often cancel plans with family and friends because I don’t want to go into public,” she said.
She said she forgives Soungpanya but believes he should be punished and imprisoned so he doesn’t hurt anyone else.
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