A Tacoma man who tried to strangle his girlfriend after she planned to leave him was sentenced Wednesday to more than 16 years in prison.
A jury convicted Francisco Guzman Rodriguez, 35, Tuesday of second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault for the attack June 4.
His girlfriend had said that day that she was going to break up with him. After she went to bed, he went into the room where she was sleeping next to her 2-year-old daughter and choked her with a scarf.
She broke free and her 14-year-old daughter called police. When officers arrived, they saw the woman’s neck was swollen and dark purple.
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The victim told the court, through a Spanish interpreter, that she relives the attack each night and has struggled to sleep.
“I don’t think I will be able to forget this event in my whole life,” she said. “... I have to be strong for my children.”
Deputy prosecutor Erica Eggertsen asked Rodriguez be sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison, noting that four children were in the home at the time of the attack.
“They would have seen their mother being seriously assaulted,” she said.
Defense attorney Edward DeCosta asked for a 10-year sentence, noting there had been no prior domestic violence between Rodriguez and his girlfriend.
Rodriguez, he said, almost certainly will be deported.
“I ask that you let him do his 10 years and go back to Mexico,” DeCosta said.
Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener then sentenced Rodriguez to 12 years and three months, and added a year of prison time for each of the four children present during the attack, for a total of 16 years and three months.
When she addressed Rodriguez, Whitener said evidence suggested he drank vodka before the attack to get up the courage to do it.
“It was an absolutely cruel and stupid move,” she said. “... All of those children saw their mother in that condition.”