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One Victim Bit Off Fingertip : Serial Rapist Gets 101 Years; Vows to Escape

November 08, 1986|MARK HENRY | Times Staff Writer

A factory machinist was sentenced Friday to 101 years in state prison in a series of early-morning rapes and assaults on San Fernando Valley women in their apartments.

Immediately after the sentencing in San Fernando Superior Court, the man, Terry Allen Wilson, 32, of Littlerock, Calif., near Lancaster, angrily denied that he raped anyone and vowed to escape from prison.

"As for the 101 years, I'll escape long before that," Wilson said to Judge Howard J. Schwab, who imposed the maximum sentence.

Schwab earlier said that Wilson had only himself to blame for the spree of "callous and vicious" crimes that occurred in Burbank, North Hollywood and Toluca Lake for 10 months in 1984 and 1985. The crimes will "terrorize" the victims the rest of their lives, Schwab said.

Arguing for the maximum prison term, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kent C. Cahill said several of the women, including one 17-year-old who was impregnated when she was raped, were traumatized and had moved from their apartments in fear.

'He Is a Malignancy'

"He is the embodiment of a nightmare, who has stalked this community far too long," Cahill said. "He is a malignancy."

Five of the nine women who testified at the trial sat together in the courtroom. Afterward, they expressed relief at the long prison sentence and agreed that Wilson got what he deserved.

"We fought back--and we won," said Pamela Gardner, 35, whose actions on the morning of July 26, 1985, gave police an unusual break in the case and led to Wilson's arrest.

Gardner resisted Wilson and bit off one of his fingertips when he attacked her inside her darkened apartment that morning.

Wilson fled but was arrested when he sought medical treatment at a Panorama City hospital. The fingertip was recovered and preserved, and it proved important in Wilson's conviction on seven counts of rape, three counts of forcible oral copulation, eight counts of burglary and four other charges.

Wilson subsequently came to be known as "the Nine-Fingered Rapist."

Jurors who convicted Wilson in September said Cahill built an overwhelming case by linking the defendant to a pattern of crimes that occurred between 4 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. and within five miles of the Burbank factory where he worked as a machinist.

The assailant entered the apartments through windows, often covered the eyes of women with a piece of cloth and frequently threatened to kill them if they resisted.

Wilson must serve a minimum of half his 101-year sentence, meaning he would not be eligible for parole until he is at least 81 years old, Cahill said.

On Probation at 14

The probation report prepared for the sentencing said Wilson's troubles began at an early age. At the age of 10, he was "sneaking around homes" and picking locks, the report stated, and, at 14, he was placed on probation for grabbing a woman's breast. As a gas company meter reader in the late 1970s, he walked into a Beverly Hills home and confronted a woman, an incident that led to his being forced to resign, the report said.

Burbank, Glendale and Beverly Hills police later reported stopping Wilson as a prowler suspect, but his police record until the time of his arrest in 1985 amounted to one conviction for trespassing, the report said.

"His succinct response to a 10-month reign of terror is, 'I was railroaded,' " the report said.

Wilson's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Daniel Blum, asked the court to show leniency, saying that Wilson is a Navy veteran with only one conviction--for trespassing. Blum also criticized laws that allow Wilson to be imprisoned longer than some convicted murderers.

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