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RANGELY I At a sentencing hearing on Feb. 6 at the Rio Blanco Courthouse and as a result of a plea bargain, 21-year-old Rangely resident Michael Miner was sentenced to nine years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for the July 2014 rape of a 12-year-old Rangely girl.
Following emotional statements from the victim’s mother and stepfather, Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett reviewed the facts of the case. After the victim’s parents left her in the care of family friends, a party ensued with heavy drinking.
Miner, whom the victim did not know, gave her a “beer bomb.” She subsequently passed out and was found in the morning with evidences of sexual assault.
“In my career, I have never seen a defendant so unrepentant,” Barrett said. “He claims zero reasonability and even blames the victim for ‘coming on to him.’”
Barrett also quoted one member of the victim’s family as saying, “There is a shattered mound of pieces to put back together.” He, therefore, requested “11 years in prison, as recommended in the plea bargain.”
After an impassioned plea for leniency by two family members, defense counsel Gordon Gallagher also asked for leniency for his client based on several factors.
He stated that Miner pleaded guilty to prevent the pains of a trial on everyone involved and insisted that no one really remembered what happened.
Gallagher went on to insist that his client did take responsibility for his actions and was sorry for them.
Other points of defense included the factors that Miner has an insignificant criminal history, is not a violent offender and has a supportive family.
After hearing the arguments, District Court Judge John Neily stated that this case was “very troubling to the court.” He went on to list the factors that must be considered in sentencing: punishment, fairness, deterrence, rehabilitation and responsibility.
Neily continued by stating that he did not find Miner’s story credible and was most troubled by the fact that he saw no remorse in the defendant. He did agree, however, that Miner is “not a violent sexual predator.”
For sexual exploitation of a child under 15 years of age—a Class 3 felony, punishable by six to 11 years—Neily sentenced Miner to nine years. For attempted sexual exploitation, a Class 5 felony, Neily sentenced Miner to three years with the sentences to run concurrently, not consecutively.