University Place man sentenced 18 years to life for Tacoma rape in 2002

Staff writerApril 19, 2013 

A woman beaten and raped in her Tacoma home nearly 11 years ago was ready to leave her prison of fear Friday as her attacker prepared to enter a different kind of prison.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson sentenced Brian Brent, 39, of University Place, to 18 years to life in prison.

In a letter to the court, the victim said it’s time Brent pays for the ruthless assault that took place June 2, 2002, as she slept in her bed. She awoke to find him standing over her. By the time he left, she had a broken nose, fractured eye socket, concussion and a bruised, battered body.

The woman lived with the fear of the unknown, scared he would return, until Brent was arrested in May after a DNA sample linked him to the unsolved case.

“It is his turn to suffer, and my turn to live,” the victim wrote in a letter to the court. “I’ve already served nearly 11 years. It’s time for me to release the negative emotions inside me and begin the healing process.”

Her family and friends also pleaded for justice, pointing out that the victim had to undergo facial reconstructive surgery and still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.

Her husband said she still regularly wakes screaming from nightmares and has to check the door locks in the middle of the night.

The night of the assault, the victim and her neighbor each had a party, and attendees went back and forth. The victim sent everyone home about 1 a.m. and went to sleep, leaving the back door unlocked for her boyfriend.

An hour later, she awoke to a man, later identified as Brent, standing above her. He punched her in the face and head several times as she struggled to get free. Brent then raped the woman and fled. She went to her boyfriend’s home and called police.

After the attack, she had a sexual assault exam, and investigators collected semen from her pajama pants.

No matches were found.

But in March 2012, the profile was again run through the state’s database of convicted felons and a match turned up.

Brent had submitted a DNA sample in 2011 after he was convicted of stealing property from his employer and selling it on eBay. It matched the evidence collected from the sexual assault.

Brent pleaded guilty in December to first-degree rape and first-degree burglary with sexual motivation. He has said he remembers little about the assault and was battling a drinking problem at the time.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653
stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

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