Jeffrey Allen Pierce blinked twice into the camera when he heard Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer sentence him to prison for more than 200 years.
Pierce, 40, a former Milton-Freewater gun shop owner, chose to appear Friday afternoon in the Pendleton courtroom via video from the Umatilla County Jail for sentencing on 36 counts of felony sex crimes.
His victim, now a 17-year-old girl, was there in person with a cadre of supporters surrounding her.
The teen did not speak during the proceeding, but chief deputy district attorney Jacklyn Jenkins delivered impassioned words to the court on her behalf.
“We tell children that monsters and bogeymen are the products of Hollywood or an overactive imagination,” Jenkins said. “But for [name omitted], the monster and the bogeyman were very real. And he didn’t live under the bed. He lived down the hall ...”
Whenever Pierce would leave, Jenkins said, the girl feared the monster’s return. Which he did, over and over again. Jenkins said the girl testified at trial she felt scared and helpless and did not know what to do.
Pierce faced 25 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and 25 of first-degree sodomy when the case went to a jury in January. The state dismissed 14 counts, and the jury convicted Pierce on the remaining 36 — 17 for sodomy and 19 for sexual abuse.
The convictions were unanimous.
Jenkins laid out her sentencing recommendation for the court. The crimes fall under Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentence law: eight years, four months for first-degree sodomy and six years, three months for first-degree sexual abuse. Jessica’s Law for Oregon applied to five of the sodomy counts, requiring mandatory minimums of 25 years because the girl was younger than 12 at the time Pierce committed the crimes. Other factors also enhanced the sentences, Jenkins said, and the state could ask for more than 300 years.
Pierce abused and sodomized the girl from the time she was 7 or 8 until she was around 14. Jenkins said beyond the physical harm Pierce inflicted, the emotional and psychological wounds persist.
“I would ask the court to think of this sentence as the number of days and months and years [the girl] can have some pierce of mind, and maybe more than that, some hope for the future,” Jenkins pleaded. “It is my belief this child is long overdue for both.”
Defense attorney Gray spoke next and recommended a total of 25 years, the least amount of prison time under Oregon law. Beyond that, Gray said, the court could impose concurrent sentences.
Pierce declined to give a statement.
Brauer called Pierce’s behavior “horrendous” as he handed down the sentence.
“You absolutely showed no remorse,” the judge said.
Brauer told Pierce he stripped the girl of having a normal life, and it was time the court stripped him of his freedom.
“You’re going to prison for a long, long time,” Brauer said. “I’m sentencing you to 2,550 months. ... That’s 212 ½ years.”
Jenkins said while the girl did not want to make a statement, she wanted to tell the court: “Thank you.”
Contact Phil Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0833.