A 27-year-old ex-Marine was sentenced to 51 years to life in prison Tuesday for kidnapping a married couple in Sherman Oaks in 1999 and sexually assaulting the pregnant wife.
A Van Nuys jury in January had convicted Brian Lyn Richie of San Gabriel of kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Debre Katz Weintraub ordered Richie to serve a life term for kidnapping, 15 years to life for sexual assault during a kidnapping, plus 36 years for the other sexual assaults and robbery.
"It's essentially a death sentence," said his attorney, William J. Hardy, who had asked the judge to show compassion.
But Deputy Dist. Atty. Eduards R. Abele said Richie's crimes involve "one of the most brutal sexual assaults I have ever seen."
The crimes, he said, "demonstrated a high degree of cruelty, viciousness and callousness."
Although the victims were not present in court Tuesday, Abele told the judge that "their preference would be that he never gets out" of prison.
Abele said Richie and an accomplice, Joseph Navar Downey, kidnapped the Covina couple at gunpoint as they sat in their pickup truck in an alley behind a private banquet hall in the 13900 block of Ventura Boulevard.
The men stole the couple's money and jewelry, valued at nearly $2,000, then took turns sexually assaulting the woman, who was three months' pregnant.
The rapes occurred repeatedly over two hours as the men drove their victims to various sites in the San Fernando Valley.
Downey, 25, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in May 2000 for the crimes and a similar attack, also in Sherman Oaks.
"A community that lived in fear at the hands of these dangerous criminals over three years ago can now take comfort in the fact that they have been brought to justice," the prosecutor said.
Both victims identified Richie as their attacker, and DNA evidence linked him to the assaults. His ex-wife and another woman testified that he also had raped them. Court records also showed that he was convicted of rape in 1996 while in the Marine Corps.
Richie's mother and brother testified that he was at home asleep when the crimes occurred.