On September 2, Felipe Martinez-Gallegos received a sentence of life in prison for the sexual assault of a 52-year-old German tourist staying at the Ala Mar Motel in January 2015. He had pled no contest to one count of assault with intent to commit rape during the commission of a residential burglary; the residential burglary charge, which also applies to temporary domiciles like motel rooms, raised the stakes to a life sentence, but with parole possible after seven years, explained prosecutor Mary Barron, a senior deputy district attorney. He had pled down from numerous charges, among them a count of forcible penetration with a foreign object — a digit, according to earlier reports — which would have extended the time before he could face the parole board.
Martinez-Gallegos had entered the woman’s motel room using a key he’d kept from a previous stay, and as she fought him off, the woman activated an emergency call button on her cell phone. Her assailant was soon found several blocks away. In a statement to the court, she said, “The pleasure of traveling on my own has been shattered and is clouded by an ever-present fear of something bad happening out of the blue.”