(WARNING: Story has disturbing elements)
RIVERSIDE (CBS) — An ex-con who imprisoned and repeatedly raped a homeless woman at a makeshift campsite along the Santa Ana River in Jurupa Valley was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in state prison.
Kenneth Earl Castle, 54, pleaded guilty Tuesday to forcible rape and forcible sodomy in connection with the assaults, which occurred over a week ending on Oct. 12, when he was arrested.
Under a plea agreement negotiated with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Castle admitted to the crimes, in exchange for the dismissal of two additional counts of rape and sodomy and one count of false imprisonment.
Superior Court Judge J. Thompson Hanks ruled that the terms of the agreement were acceptable. Had Castle been convicted by a jury on all counts, he could have faced more than 30 years behind bars.
The victim, a woman in her 50s whose identity was not released, knew Castle and agreed to meet him at his tent near the river bottom, just off Market Street, according to Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham.
He said the ex-con forced her to stay with him, sexually assaulting her multiple times.
“Every time she tried to go, he beat her,” the prosecutor said. “He had a bucket inside the tent, where he’d make her do her business. When they slept at night, he kept his legs on her body.”
According to Beecham, Castle engaged in bizarre practices, sampling the woman’s fecal matter and shearing off all of her hair.
“He told her learned how to style hair in prison,” Beecham said.
On the day of her escape, the victim convinced the defendant that she loved him and expressed concerns that she might be pregnant, asking him to get her something to drink from a nearby store, according to Beecham.
“He believed her and left to go to the store,” the prosecutor said.
“She ran to a bike path alongside the river and told a bicyclist what had happened, and he let her use his cell phone to call 911.”
Sheriff’s deputies located Castle and arrested him without incident a shore time later.
According to court records, Castle has prior convictions for felony theft and burglary.
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